LCSW vs. Wellness Coach: Completing the picture, By Joyce Hull LMSW
As health care costs rise and accessibility to health care benefits diminish, it would not be unreasonable to say there is a growing trend for individuals to take personal health and wellbeing into their own hands, referred to as personal responsibility. Individuals, in growing numbers, are seeking less traditional approaches to health care, as are insurance agencies, with a more innovative approach called preventative health care. The fitness profession has focused on preventative health for years and recently the medical profession is beginning to follow.
Wellness Coaching is becoming more common in the workplace. There appears to be a realization among Americans that that leading causes of death and disability are not only treatable, but more importantly, are to some extent preventable. People are starting to adjust their lifestyles to include exercise and healthy eating. Lifestyle changes are an important factor to Wellness, but it’s not always easy to make lifestyle-altering changes. That’s where wellness coaching comes in. Certified coaches are increasingly working with individuals to make necessary changes to improve wellness and life satisfaction. So where is the missing link?
Consider the relationship between mental health and chronic illness. In 2009, 145 million Americans (almost half of all Americans!) were living with a chronic medical condition. In addition, approximately 26% of Americans 18 years or older suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder within a given year. It would only stand to reason there are a lot of individuals in need of both a wellness coach and a mental health professional. A licensed counselor, which is also a trained and certified wellness coach, appears to be a combination worth looking into. Imagine treating your client not only for depression, but being able to provide the assistance they need to reduce the risk a chronic disease. Counseling would become a holistic approach to practice.
CDC (2012). Mental Health and Chronic Diseases: Issue Brief No. 2. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division of Population Health.