If you’ve ever had a mentor, or simply someone who believed in you, you might get a sense of what a recovery coach can do for you. Recovery coaches work with those who have some sort of maladaptive behavior – such as addiction, codependency, and self-sabotage – to facilitate sobriety or reaching other life goals.
Recovery coaching is a relatively new field. Like psychotherapy, it is a one-on-one type of relationship where one person facilitates the well being of the other. However, unlike therapy, coaching tends to focus on one’s strengths versus the problems in one’s life. Coaching has been around for the last 30 years, making it a fairly new wellness field. Psychotherapy, on the other hand, has been in existence since the early 1900’s, beginning with Freud’s psychoanalysis.
Recovery coaching is a form of strengths-based support for those who want to overcome the obstacles in their lives. Recovery coaches help their clients find ways to stop addiction, as well as gain insight on the patterns in their lives that are getting in the way of creating a better life.
Recovery coaching is a form of learning from another through one on one teaching. Coaches can be guides in the delicate experiences of life, such as recovery from addiction. In fact, studies show that they have been incredibly effective. For example, mentoring programs in schools, which could be compared to coaching and other one-on-one experiences have had a large impact on the education of teens. Also, coaching programs for professionals have supported advancement in careers and great achievements, including what people thought that they may not be able to achieve. With recovery coaching, goals and achievements can also be won.
Also, recovery coaching is a way to stay in close touch with your sobriety. Once you return from a sober living program or a residential treatment center and you return to your home community, there may be risky situations that could jeopardize your recovery. Having a coach can shield you from those risky situations, facilitating healthy decisions, serving as a reminder of your sobriety, and supporting you in your long-term goals.
It should be noted, however, that recovery coaches are not drug counselors. They do not know how to treat addiction nor do they know how to facilitate therapeutic sessions that might use therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Motivational Interviewing (MI). Despite this, they are able to provide their clients with a solid base to focus on sobriety, a significant amount of support to stay sober, and a belief that their client can achieve long-term sobriety. Along these lines, recovery coaches are not licensed clinicians. They are not psychologists or therapists and therefore cannot treat trauma or early experiences that might have once contributed to addiction.
Yet, recovery coaches can provide the kind of relationship that is needed for success. Research has shown that a relationship focused on strengths and support can facilitate well being and the achievement of goals.
And it’s not only the coaching field that has found this to be true, but the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also pointed out that: An important factor in the recovery process is the presence and involvement of people who believe in the person’s ability to recover.
People who offer hope, support and encouragement and who suggest strategies and resources for change in their own way are providing recovery coaching. Through these relationships, people leave unhealthy life roles behind in exchange for new roles that lead to empowerment, autonomy, and community engagement. Most importantly, recovery coaching can facilitate dramatic life changes, long-term sobriety, and enjoyment in life.
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