Upon completing addiction treatment most people meet with a discharge planner who writes a blueprint with the components necessary to maintain long-term recovery. Often this plan includes attending 12-step meetings, and a referral to a therapist/counselor for continued support. While this is a solid plan that will benefit many, it doesn’t take into account individual preferences (12-steps are not a good match for everyone) and cultural differences (not all cultures value or believe in the benefits of mental health interventions). Recovery and life coaching can act as a bridge to traditional mental health services, and provide hands on support that exists outside the boundaries of the traditional therapy.
As much as American culture has changed, and become more open to the idea of therapy/ counseling, there is still a stigma associated with “needing therapy” and having a mental health diagnosis. The addictions treatment community has done a great job of removing stigma and making addiction treatment accessible. People have bought into the need for addiction treatment to help achieve sobriety and will participate in the components of their treatment program (which usually include therapy (group and/or individual), but often struggle to use these same types of resources in the community because of the stigmas associated with them. This is where recovery and life coaching can be an important component of recovery.
For some, doing the emotional work with a therapist/counselor is what is necessary to create change, but still need assistance with the pragmatic components of life in recovery. Coaching is a pragmatic, hands on approach to create change and serves as an adjunctive service to counseling with a licensed clinician. Coaches work collaboratively with the client and clinician in navigating work/school issues, accessing complementary services (such as a seeing a nutritionist or finding a personal trainer), or cultivating a social network that values and supports sobriety.
For others, coaching is more accessible service as it does not have the stigma associated with seeing a therapist/counselor. For those who come to coaching for assistance with building a life in sobriety, the opportunity for a referral to a licensed therapist almost always comes up. The coach can use the rapport built with the client to make a case for the value and importance of mental health treatment by reducing stigma, and providing information about how therapy/counseling will provide the emotional resources necessary to navigate difficult experiences that come up in life, thus increasing the likelihood of maintaining long-term recovery (which is what often draws a client to a recovery or life coach after addiction treatment).
Collaboration of the coach and clinician are vital to supporting people in early recovery. A coach’s role is to motivate people to use the skills and resources available to them to craft a meaningful life, however, many people in early recovery have not done the emotional work necessary to move forward in a healthy manner. The therapist/counselor’s job is to assess and diagnose mental health issues, provide space to explore emotions and address the distress that comes along with addiction and other mental health concerns. To ensure a successful relationship clinician, coach, and client need to collaborate to set boundaries, define roles, and set reasonable expectations for their work together. This type of cooperative interaction models healthy relationships, provides a supportive network to depend on when the challenges of early sobriety arise, and increases the likelihood of the client being able to attain long-term recovery.
The Wellness Cooperative offers life and recovery coaching based on the principle that wellness does not occur in isolation. In addition to life and recovery coaching services, we host meditation classes, and healthy living workshops for people interested in creating a healthy lifestyle.