Integrative Health Coaching : A Phenomenology of Clients' Discoveries

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Karen L. Goble (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
Web Site:
Sharon M. Knight

Abstract: The field of health coaching has experienced significant growth in response to the social and economic burden of chronic disease. Integrative health coaching (IHC) applies the principles of integrative medicine and a motivational coaching process to engage clients with attaining self-determined goals. The literature at the time of this study had not examined clients' experiences and meanings in the developing health promotion practice. The purpose of this study was to describe the lived experience of IHC for adult clients who sought the coaching intervention to address a chronic health condition.  The researcher applied a phenomenological approach in the study. Nine participants voluntarily responded to a UMCIRB approved study announcement distributed to clients by integrative health coaches at Duke Integrative Medicine. The collection of qualitative data occurred through in-depth and photo-elicitation interviews. Analysis entailed Moustakas' process of phenomenological reduction and coding using qualitative software.  Study participants acknowledged the difficulty of lifestyle change and readiness to improve their health. Their participation in IHC involved building intrinsic motivation to attain self-defined goals with the support of the coach-client relationship. The essence of clients' IHC experience was engagement in transformational change. Study participants' descriptions revealed four key structures: a) the integrative medicine framework; b) the health coaching process; c) the sense of transformational change; and d) engagement. The study findings described client engagement in a health coaching process that uniquely applied mindfulness and integrative medicine practices. This study contributes to an understanding of the dynamics of mindfulness and integrative medicine in the emerging health coaching practice. The nine IHC clients' experiences provide insights for health professionals who seek to engage persons living with chronic health conditions in a process that supports their self-determined efforts toward goal attainment and realizing health and well-being. 

Additional Information

Date: 2012
Health education, Alternative medicine, Medicine, Health coaching, Health education and promotion, Integrative health coaching, Mindfulness, Self-determination theory
Health coaches
Integrative medicine
Chronically ill--Care

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