Integrative Health Coaches Bring Spirituality to Healthcare
Posted on May 11, 2015 in Health Coaching Explained
Despite the massive research findings indicating the importance of spirituality in health and wellness, it has been largely neglected in the healthcare system. Integrating spirituality into healthcare brings joy and meaning into the lives of children, teenagers, parents, and the elderly in magnificent ways. Physicians, admittedly state that they not only don’t have the time to discuss spirituality with patients, but that they also feel uncomfortable doing so, mostly because the data indicates that the majority of physicians are less spiritual than their patients. This along with a societal taboo against discussing religion and spirituality in order to avoid conflict leaves most people unprepared to have an open and honest conversation on spirituality that both honors and supports the other person on the fundamental spiritual path they have chosen in life. With the emergence of the increased number of integrative health coaches being hired by medical systems and organizations, spirituality is being reintroduced as the vital and forceful component of recovery and revitalization that it is.
Elderly patients have repeatedly indicated that they want to discuss spirituality with their physicians, especially related to end of life issues. Finding meaning and reaching transcendence can bring great comfort as patients prepare for death. In addition to easing the fear of the unknown following physical death, integrative health coaches help dying patients review their lives and focus on the positive aspects of their legacy rather than the mounds of regret that many face when they are preparing to die. They know that these situations are actually opportunities to easily open discussions and enter into divine energy. The dying are given the grace to get closure on these issues before going to hospice where these topics may or may not be addressed. This allows for more time to heal and from what is for some, a life time of ongoing emotional wounds and remorse. They will discuss topics of ultimate meaning – what is my legacy? How will I be remembered? Research has shown that when the elderly or dying have an opportunity to take stock of their lives and realize their special contributions and the positive impact they have had on others, they achieve a sense of peace before passing and experience a much more graceful death.
It’s not just those facing their own mortality that benefit from open spiritual discussions. Depression, anxiety, and substance abuse are epidemics in our society stemming from deep spiritual angst. Health coaches teach clients the importance of using mindfulness strategies in maintaining inner peace for optimal mental and physical health. Those with inner peace have a much lower risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other disorders that are affected by decreased immune systems, not to mention reported higher levels of happiness and joy. In addition, peacefulness, meditation and prayer have been shown to be highly powerful in recovering from surgery, illness, disease, and pain; cutting the length of healing and recovery times by 50% more than when using pharmaceuticals alone.
Studies have shown that patients often heal from depression and anxiety by gaining insight into their life’s purpose. Integrative health coaches are trained in helping people with this aspect of their life, ultimately giving them a sense of meaning and stability that relieves patients of their symptoms of depression and anxiety. They realize that their depression and anxiety was a wake-up call for the truth of their existence and purpose. They instead experience feelings of meaningfulness, appreciation for their work, and an ultimate knowing that they can relax and do what they love, while they thrive and live a joyful life.
Spirituality has been shown to extend life, reduce depression, substance abuse, anxiety and worry. Health coaches can teach, educate, and encourage clients on the power of releasing negative emotions and how to promote forgiveness of self and others if they take the time to focus and work on their wellbeing. Some find great solace in knowing that they can call a 24-hour prayer line and pray with another person about their worries and concerns, while in the presence of a Higher Power that totally supports them.
Spirituality can also be leveraged to improve the lives of children being born with what society has diagnosed as certain ‘special needs’, including ADHD, anxiety, depression, and autism. Others understand that these ‘new children’ born over the past 20 years actually come into this world with a higher degree of knowing and connection to spiritual aspects of life. They find it difficult to adjust to a three-dimensional world as they live in a higher dimensional body and mind. Integrative health coaches are trained in this phenomenon and know how to help these children remember who they are and change their perception of themselves from a flawed human being to one of great giftedness and esteem. In many cases, this re-conception totally changes the child’s self-image and can prevent major psychological distress and potentially even suicide.
By starting the conversation on spirituality with nearly every type of client, integrative health coaches open a new path of healing and wellness that has historically been ignored or even shunned. Without proselytizing or promoting any specific religion, they are able to utilize core spiritual truths that help in every facet of health and wellness.
Please note that the information written in this newsletter is based on the curriculum covered in Dr. Nickerson’s Integrative Health Coach Training Program. Integrative health coaching is the newest career in healthcare. Find out more information at http://nickersoninstitute.com/integrative-health-coach-training/ or sign up for the next informational session on becoming an Integrative Health Coach.