Frequently Asked Questions

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Is all health coaching the same?


I completed my health coaching training at one of the leading institutions in this field, Duke Integrative Medicine. However, there are currently no standards for health coaching so anyone can call him or herself a health and wellness coach.

The International Consortium for Credentialing Health & Wellness Coaches (ICHWC) is working to change that by implementing national standards for credentialing of individuals and training programs. Standards have already been developed for both groups. Training programs that currently meet the credentialing standards (such as Duke Integrative Medicine where I trained) can be found on the ICHWC website. Standards for individuals are already formulated and are currently being implemented.

Note the definition of health and wellness coach per the ICHWC:

"Health and Wellness Coaches partner with clients seeking self-directed, lasting changes, aligned with their values, which promote health and wellness and, thereby, enhance well-being. In the course of their work health and wellness coaches display unconditional positive regard for their clients and a belief in their capacity for change, and honoring that each client is an expert on his or her life, while ensuring that all interactions are respectful and non-judgmental."


You are not an expert in all the areas you mention that affect health. So how can you help me in those areas?

Great question!

The beauty of integrative health coaching is that the process is applicable to any area where you desire to make a behavioral change. The coach needs to be an expert in the process of successful change, not in any specific area. For example, although I am not a financial planner, if your goal is to save more for retirement, as your coach I will apply my coaching techniques to help you reach that goal. The key is that the process is centered on what is important to you and integrating the change into your life in a way that works and is sustainable.


Have you ever been coached?

Yes, I sure have!

Mine is perhaps an atypical example and one that demonstrates how many things impact our health. I chose “physical environment” as my focus area. After 3 years of living in our home, we still had not painted our master bedroom. My coach and I first discussed why this was important to me and how it fit into my overall vision of optimal health. I believe that your home should be a place of respite. This is especially the case for where you sleep, since sleep is so important. Thus, it really bothered me that we had not painted our bedroom to reflect that.

After I connected painting my bedroom to my health vision and values, my coach helped me break down the task into measurable, doable steps. For each step I had to set a specific completion date, think about things that might derail me from completing the task, and come up with a contingency plan if the original date didn’t work. I was held accountable for completing each step. To fit into my life and the way I work best, each step was placed on my calendar with a reminder. I know that I am far more likely to complete tasks that way.

This process made something that had been put off for so long, easy to complete. The end result is that we finally painted our bedroom a beautiful, soothing shade of blue that I love!

Is face to face coaching an option?

Yes. If you live in the Richmond, VA area, face to face coaching is available for the first and last session. Contact me if interested.

Is health coaching like psychotherapy?

Integrative health coaching is not psychotherapy. Occasionally people come to integrative health coaching when what they truly need is psychotherapy, or perhaps both coaching and psychotherapy. If I find this is the case for you, I'll work with you to help you get the care you need. See the difference between the two below.


You mentioned that health coaching is scientific and evidence based. What does that mean?

Although integrative health coaching is a relatively new field, it is based on years of behavioral change science including the work of Carl Jung, Alfred Alder, William James, Carl Rogers, and Abraham Maslow. It is further enhanced by the neuroscience of behavior change. Key concepts of brain training are utilized including: 1- knowing that every brain is different, 2- using tools to develop “stickiness” i.e. building the number of brain cell connections in as many areas of the brain as possible 3- celebrating solutions with positivity, 4-taking small, specific steps to success, and 5- using repetition to help cement change.  (Adapted from Duke Integrative Medicine).

Here are a few publications that speak about the benefits of health coaching:

Almeida OP, Marsh K, Murray K, Hickey M, Sim M, Ford A, Flicker L. Reducing depression during the menopausal transition with health coaching: Results from the healthy menopausal transition randomised controlled trial. Maturitas. 2016 Oct;92:41-8. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2016.07.012. Epub 2016 Jul 19. PubMed PMID: 27621237.

Kivelä K, Elo S, Kyngäs H, Kääriäinen M. The effects of health coaching on adult patients with chronic diseases: a systematic review. Patient Educ Couns. 2014 Nov;97(2):147-57. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2014.07.026. Epub 2014 Aug 1. PubMed PMID: 25127667.

Smith LL, Lake NH, Simmons LA, Perlman A, Wroth S, Wolever RQ. Integrative Health Coach Training: A Model for Shifting the Paradigm Toward Patient-centricity and Meeting New National Prevention Goals. Glob Adv Health Med. 2013 May;2(3):66-74. doi: 10.7453/gahmj.2013.034. PubMed PMID: 24416674; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3833534.

Frates EP, Moore MA, Lopez CN, McMahon GT. Coaching for behavior change in physiatry. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2011 Dec;90(12):1074-82. doi:10.1097/PHM.0b013e31822dea9a. PubMed PMID: 22019966.

Wolever RQ, Dreusicke M, Fikkan J, Hawkins TV, Yeung S, Wakefield J, Duda L, Flowers P, Cook C, Skinner E. Integrative health coaching for patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized clinical trial. Diabetes Educ. 2010 Jul-Aug;36(4):629-39. doi: 10.1177/0145721710371523. Epub 2010 Jun 9. PubMed PMID: 20534872.

Vale MJ, Jelinek MV, Best JD, Dart AM, Grigg LE, Hare DL, Ho BP, Newman RW, McNeil JJ; COACH Study Group. Coaching patients On Achieving Cardiovascular Health (COACH): a multicenter randomized trial in patients with coronary heart disease. Arch Intern Med. 2003 Dec 8-22;163(22):2775-83. PubMed PMID: 14662633.

What methods of payment do you accept and when is payment due?

I accept payment through PayPal. You do not need a Paypal account to use the service.

For my signature personalized health coaching package, full payment is due prior to the beginning of the first session. Alternatively, you may pay one-half prior to the beginning of the first session and the remaining half prior to the beginning of the fourth session.

If at any time you would like to end the coaching relationship, a prorated refund will be issued.

For individual sessions the entire fee is due prior to the beginning of the session.

For speaking services, a 20% deposit is required.

At this time integrative health coaching is not covered by insurance. However, you may be able to use funds from your flexible spending or health savings account. Check with your specific plan to find out.

I have some questions before I proceed. Can I talk to you first?

Of course you can! I want you to be certain before you make this investment of your precious time and money. So I'm happy to chat and answer any questions at no cost to you. Just click the button to schedule a consultation.

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What happens if I'm not happy?

I'm 100% confident in my program and it's vital that you are too. If after 3 sessions you decide that my coaching is not right for you, I'll give you a full refund.

Do you ever provide services at a discounted rate or on a volunteer basis?

Depending on your personal circumstances I may be able to provide a discounted rate. Please contact me to discuss.

I thoroughly believe in the importance of giving back to our communities. I currently volunteer my services as a physician to a local non-profit health clinic. I also give free health and wellness talks to community groups as my schedule permits. Please contact me if interested.

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