Dr. Duston Morris, Associate Professor and Department Chair of Health and Wellness Coaching at Maryland University of Integrative Health, explains the role of coaching during a time of loss. He discusses how coaches can help clients deal with loss and grief, begin the healing process, and learn how to fully grieve so they can positively manage loss in their lives.
How can a Health and Wellness Coach be supportive during a time of loss?
Loss comes in all different forms. It can present feelings like sadness and helplessness. A Health and Wellness Coach can provide support during times of loss by helping clients realize that although we can’t control loss, we can learn how to fully grieve our loss and embrace bereavement as part of a healthy lifestyle. Exploring personal feelings related to loss and how those feelings are part of the healing process is something Health and Wellness Coaches can explore with clients, providing them with the support they need and deserve.
For a Health and Wellness Coach, which scenarios constitute a loss?
Many scenarios constitute a loss. It can be the loss of a loved one, the loss of a friendship, or a job. Typically, loss produces feelings like sadness, helplessness, loneliness, doubt, worry, and even confusion. Not processing loss and working through our feelings regarding loss can impact many different aspects of health and wellness. Health and Wellness Coaches recognize how loss can negatively influence the different dimensions of health and wellness. Helping clients recognize this process is one of the first steps toward healing.
How can Health and Wellness Coaching facilitate the process of grief?
Health and Wellness Coaches help facilitate the process of grief by offering their clients a safe and supportive space to share their thoughts and feelings openly. Our society teaches us that showing feelings like those associated with loss is a sign of weakness when being able to appreciate and appropriately express those feelings is a sign of strength and growth. Health and Wellness Coaches are supportive professionals that work alongside their clients to help them talk about their loss, and how to positively manage their loss by embracing their feelings and recognizing that as a healthy and appropriate process.
Is there an average length of time a Health and Wellness Coach is most supportive in processing grief?
There is no “normal” amount of time it takes to grieve. This is different for each person. Health and Wellness Coaches can be there as long as needed. The length of time necessary to deal with loss and grief effectively is determined by the client and based on conversations between the client and their Health and Wellness Coach during their coaching sessions.
Does a Health and Wellness Coach use special techniques in the grieving process?
Health and Wellness Coaches are trained to use many different coaching skills and techniques. However, when dealing with loss, the best things the coach offers are genuine compassion, empathy, and reflection. Loss is hard. Loss hurts. Most people just need someone who listens, understands, and provides a safe space to share all feelings without judgment. This is part of the healing presence that every MUIH Health and Wellness Coach is trained to practice.
Integrative health professionals from MUIH can be found all around the world. To find a health and wellness coach within MUIH’s community resources, you can find a practitioner.
To become a health and wellness coach, explore the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Health and Wellness Coaching program, which prepares students with foundational skills and expertise to help clients clarify and implement health and wellness goals and sustain life-changing behaviors.
And learn about the Master of Arts in Health and Wellness Coaching program, which builds upon foundational coaching skills through advanced coaching, group coaching, professional and business development, and research literacy skills that support contemporary coaching practice.