The gap between psychotherapy and coaching narrows

Insurers take a crack at health coaching

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 9:26 pm

Many therapists began branching out into coaching a decade ago. There are several advantages to having a coaching practice alongside your therapy practice so there has been solid growth in this field for some time.

First, you don’t have to deal with insurance – everything is done on a cash basis. In fact, most coaches work with package deals, charging $200 or $300 or more for their services which may include follow-up emails. Second, this is work you can do over the phone, so there’s a convenience factor.

And because so much of it is phone work, you can promote your specialty to a wider geographic audience.

But now insurance companies are getting into the coaching act, too, as we saw with a program promoted this week at WellPoint. The company has built its coaching program around a new survey showing that there is a surprisingly strong demand for health coaching.

Although two-thirds of those surveyed weren’t sure what a health coach is or does, half of those surveyed said they could benefit from someone who prods them to make the best health care choices.

For private practice therapists/ coaches, directing your services at people with chronic health problems may pay off, the study suggests. Three-quarters of Americans who suffer from things like diabetes and asthma say they could use a coach. Women are particularly open this idea – 40% would like health coaching compared with 30% of men.

The WellPoint survey results were based on a poll of 2,500 Americans age 18 and over in March.

AND MORE ON COACHING: The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has expressed concerns over a new coaching program at OptumHealth Behavioral Solutions (United Behavioral Solutions).

NASW members have complained that OptumHealth’s “care advocates and life coaches [are] conflicting and interfering with their role as mental health providers.”

The organization contacted OptumHealth for clarification of the roles of coaches and licensed clinical social workers, and the company’s responses are detailed in the above link.

The NASW concluded that there was overlap in the roles and encouraged their members to contact OptumHealth themselves so that “corrective action can be taken” when these conflicts pop up.

Clinical social workers were being “instructed” on how to treat certain patients, the NASW said.


  1. Pingback: Distinctions: Coaching vs.Therapy « ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  2. Linked this post as “related content” to one on my ADD/EF-focused blog — distinguishing key differences between therapy and coaching, following up on a discussion in the Links for Shrinks Group on LinkedIn.

    Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, SCAC, MCC – (blogging at ADDandSoMuchMore and ADDerWorld – dot com!)

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