The Process of Patient Empowerment in Integrative Health Coaching: How Does it Happen?

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Karen Caldwell Ph.D., Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: Emerging healthcare delivery models suggest that patients benefit from being engaged in their care. Integrative health coaching (IHC) is designed to be a systematic, collaborative, and solution-focused process that facilitates the enhancement of life experience and goal attainment regarding health, but little research is available to describe the mechanisms through which empowerment occurs in the health coaching process. The purpose of this qualitative study is to describe apparent key components of the empowerment process as it actually occurs in IHC. A sample of 69 recorded health coaching sessions was drawn from 12 participants enrolled in a randomized controlled study comparing two different methods of weight-loss maintenance. Two researchers coded the word-for-word transcripts of sessions focusing on the structure of the sessions and communication strategies used by the coaches. Three basic sections of a coaching session were identified, and two main themes emerged from the communication strategies used: Exploring Participant's Experience and Active Interventions. In IHC, health coaches do not direct with prefabricated education based on the patient's presenting problem; rather, they use a concordant style of communication. The major tenets of the health coaching process are patient-centeredness and patient control focused around patient-originated health goals that guide the work within a supportive coaching partnership. As the field of health coaching continues to define itself, an important ongoing question involves how the structure of the provider-patient interaction is informed by the role of the healthcare provider (eg, nurse, therapist, coach) and in turn shapes the empowerment process.

Additional Information

Caldwell, K., Gray, J., & Wolever, R. Q. (2013). The process of patient empowerment in integrative health coaching: How does it happen? Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 2(3), 34-43. (refereed)
Language: English
Date: 2013
Health Coaching, Lifestyle Behaviors, Chronic Disease, Qualitative Methodology

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