Clinician Coaching Can Make a Big Difference on a Mental Health Journey

Coaching for health improvement has its roots in various fields such as psychology, sports, and business management. In the 1990s, coaching for health improvement began to gain popularity as a means of promoting behavior change and improving health outcomes. Health coaches worked with clients to set goals, develop action plans, and provide ongoing support and accountability. The coaching approach was seen as an effective way to empower individuals to take an active role in their own health and well-being.

Value of Coaching for Health Improvement

Coaching is an effective tool for improving outcomes in many health journeys. In one systematic review of coaching for health promotion, it was found to have positive effects on physical activity, weight management, nutrition, and smoking cessation. In another study  individuals with chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer who received coaching were able to better manage their conditions and improve their quality of life. 

Consider a fitness program where some people may prefer to pursue their goals alone and others may need a trainer or a workout partner, and some need both. Mental health journeys are no different. Meeting mental health goals is also a unique journey and a successful one can depend on an individual’s emotional needs, comfort and health literacy levels, and other factors. Different people may require different methods to reach their mental health aims.

The Power of Clinician Coaching in Behavioral Health

Much of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is about changing thought and behavior patterns that have become deeply ingrained habits. Breaking old habits can be exceedingly difficult to do, requiring willpower and motivation, or more. Sustaining new habits and behaviors will also require ongoing efforts to keep them for the long term.  

Behavioral health coaching can be an excellent complement to CBT. It provided added support as a person works through CBT lessons and learns powerful strategies to improve their mental health. As someone learns new mental health tools and tactics, a coach can:

  • Help explain a concept that is difficult to understand or may be challenging to put into practice.  
  • Provide accountability and encouragement, motivating the user to stick with their CBT lessons and complete practice exercises that reinforce lessons and provide real world resources.  
  • Help users tailor the application of content to their own unique situation.

Working with a coach who has expertise in psychology, counseling, and behavior change can help individuals identify their specific challenges and how CBT can help. One study published by the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy found that people enrolled in Learn to Live’s digital CBT programs who also took advantage of clinician coaching displayed significantly greater improvement both in earlier lessons as well as a higher retention rate after each lesson.

Coaching Can Be a Valuable Addition for CBT Success

Coaching can enhance the effectiveness of CBT by providing a personalized and holistic approach to mental health and well-being:

  • Evidence-based: Health coaching is an evidence-based practice that has been rigorously tested in research studies and has been shown to be effective in improving health outcomes. 
  • Personalized approach: A coach incorporates an individual’s unique needs, goals, and circumstances, which can lead to better results than a one-size-fits-all approach. 
  • Focus on behavior change: A coach can help individuals identify and overcome barriers to behavior change and provide accountability and support throughout the process. 
  • Collaborative relationship: Coaching is based on a collaborative relationship that can empower individuals to take ownership of their mental health and make lasting behavior changes. 
  • Long-term benefits: Coaching can help individuals develop sustainable habits that lead to improved health outcomes over time. This can result in reduced health care costs and improved quality of life. 
  • Flexibility: Health coaching can be delivered in a variety of formats, including in-person, over the phone, and via text message and email, making it a flexible option for individuals with busy schedules or limited access to health care. 

Accessing Mental Health Care on Your Own Terms

Embarking on a mental health journey can be intimidating due to barriers like stigma and access, and many people may find it challenging to stick with a mental health program on their own. Combining an online, self-paced CBT program with clinician coaching help participants stay motivated and committed over time. Long term mental health improvement requires consistent effort and adherence – adding extra support can make a significant difference.