For most parts, I’ve dropped the “dr” courtesy title to avoid being mistaken as a medical doctor. Furthermore, I never wanted to work with people on a chiropractor-patient capacity because of the distance that creates. I mean, white coat syndrome has been well documented for years now. We can 100% do more to help reduce the healthcare provider-patient gap.
It was also a deliberate choice to refer to people I work with as clients. ‘Patient’ somewhat seems to suggest that you’re sick and that I’m here to make your problem go away. That’s not how I work at Square One Active Recovery.
What is health coaching?
At its core, coaching is about getting a client from point A to point B. Pretty much like what a coach – as per carriage – did back in the day as a main form of transportation.
Various types of coaching exist. We are probably most familiar with sports coaching. Joseph O’Connor and Andrea Lages in How Coaching Works talked about three types of coaching relationships:
Expert model: A client buys an expertise but has no responsibility for the outcome. Going to the hairdresser for example. You pay them a fee and the service is performed I disagree that the client has no responsibility for the outcome I think it’s more accurate to say the client doesn’t contribute to the outcome i.e. it just gets done without the client having to be involved at all.
Medical model: In this case, the client has a limited contribution. You’ve to stick to the prescription, follow the advice provided.
However, when things fall apart, who do the doctors blame? The patient. Sounds familiar?
Process consultation model: This is most closely aligned to what I do in practice. The client contributes 100% – what they put in will directly affect the rewards they reap. According to the authors, this relationship is about the client perceiving, understanding, and acting on process events that occur in the client’s internal or external environment to improve on a given situation/problem.
A health coach is somebody who uses coaching principles to help their clients achieve their health goals. This includes empowering clients to adopt and maintain sustainable health habits that may prevent, mitigate and even reverse chronic diseases.
An example of a health coaching program goal is weight loss. As part of the program, the coach may work with the client to increase physical activity, encourage healthy eating habits, change their relationships with food, develop the necessary skills to design a meal plan, etc.
The problem with the traditional doctor-patient framework
You see, in a traditional health care provider and patient relationship, the chiropractor or physiotherapy provides their expertise and sends the patient along to do what is needed to get better.
This can include changes such as reduced smoking, consume less alcohol, exercise more, etc. Most of the advice given in such context typically involves behaviour-lifestyle change.
Anyone who have tried to change their lifestyle will know it’s not that simple!
Good clinical advice, without the necessary support to facilitate the appropriate lifestyle change, is not meaningful for most patients. This is where health coaching comes in.
How to promote health-related behaviour change?
When it comes to promoting behaviour change, it’s absolutely essential to understand what motivates you.
Beyond motivation, social and psychological factors also contribute significantly to successful behaviour change. We don’t think much of this but the environment that you exist in also matters.
Let’s take for example you are looking to develop better eating habits. The people you hangout with will influence your food choices.
Just earlier this week I met a couple of friends for Korean barbecue. Because I wanted to introduce them to Mangalitza pork, we ended up having pork belly at 8 Korean BBQ in Shaw Centre. On top of that, we also had Soju Bombs (a shot of soju in a cup of beer).
All of us are in the healthy weight range and live fairly healthy lifestyles. So, it was more a cheat day for us. The pork belly and alcohol could be considered as our discretionary food intake for the week.
If you were with us that day and you are working on cutting down high-fat food, what would you do?
- Make a suggestion to eat at a restaurant that may promote low-fat food options. If everyone is already on board to trying the Hungarian Mangalitza pork, it may be challenging to change everybody’s mind.
- Choose to not eat at dinner. You will be exposing yourself to temptation and possibly peer pressure to join them to eat.
- Skip dinner altogether and miss out on quality time with friends.
Do you get my point now? Providing good clinical advice alone is not always good enough to create change.
To live healthily doesn’t exist in a vacuum. There are many factors at play. A health coach will be able to walk you through the process, to help you identify and address the factors that are most important to your health goals.
Your first chiropractic visit with us
The biggest difference between what I do vs. what my competitors do is that I care about your goals.
Before your first visit, you would have completed our onboarding form. In this form, you would have to set at least one goal. This is what I will be helping you with through your sessions with me.
Because Square One Active Recovery is about long-term results, I don’t work like the average chiropractor. I am focused on finding sustainable solutions for your unique chronic pain problem. This means you don’t have to keep coming back.
If you are experiencing neck pain with prolonged sitting and you work at the computer for eight hours a day, I will help you increase your capacity to sit upwards of eight hours a day without pain.
In the rare event that we – you and I together – are unable to increase your capacity, I will help you develop strategies to sit pain-free for eight hours a day.
Your chiropractic consultation and treatment with me is no different from a coaching session. What we offer at our chiropractic clinic is a hybrid medical and consultation process model.
If you are not getting results from your current health care provider (e.g. have to repeatedly return for treatments or excessive dependence on medication) and you are open to work with a collaborative chiropractic, book in for a session with us to discover the difference the right care can make. Let me help you find freedom from pain.