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Health-Based Coaching: The Many Dimensions

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Gay Teurman, Psy.D. and William Bergquist, Ph.D.

The emerging field of health-based coaching has mostly focused on strategies associated with empowering individuals to make lasting health behavior changes.  These changes are the cornerstone in defining a sense of well-being. As in most emerging fields of human service, health-based coaching practices are highly diverse with regard to both perspectives on and knowledge about health. A diverse set of strategies also are engaged by the health-based coach—these strategies reflecting the complexities of successfully- managing wellness.

A health-based coach is likely to implement recommendations for well-being from a wide range of disciplinary categories and fields of knowledge. An important role can be played by the coach in assisting their client to bridge the gap between and integrate several different disciplines: biology, environmental studies, psychology, neurobiology and spirituality. Together, these interwoven disciplines provide what might best be called a biopsychosocial perspective on health-based coaching.

In this essay, we identify some of the areas that might be engaged by the health-based coach. In some cases, these are areas of knowledge about health and in other cases they are areas of healthy practice. The health-based coach is both a source of knowledge and an advocate for specific practices—most importantly the coach is a source of provocative and generative questions that are posed to their client. These questions primary concern the client’s exploration of what constitutes “health” for them and how they can best achieve this state. Following are some of the domains and disciplines which a health-based coach might enter and in which they might be most helpful to their client.

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