Actually, recently I saw it advertised in Natural Awakenings, a holistic magazine here in South Florida, to become a certified life coach in “only a short weekend.” This is really disturbing. At least one should get proper training at a school that is accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF), such as The Institute for Life Coach Training that I was trained at and it took me over 6 months. You can go to their website and locate schools that are accredited. You also get what you pay for. In addition, to maintain my license as a licensed marriage and family therapist, I need to take continuing education credits, just like in medical field or any other professional field. This is not required for life coaches.Each state varies, but credentialing is pretty straight-forward.
There is a value as well when one becomes a life coach after struggles and challenges and knows what it takes to find a solution, whether it is a career change, or weight loss, or finding your life’s purpose, or learning new skills, such as how to become a better speaker. However, my point here is, and a big concern, which I continue to notice, that life coaches are starting to treat mental and emotional disorders, even traumas, while they don’t even have a basic clinical knowledge about the symptoms and they can do more damage than good.
I also see posts of Facebook of healers and life coaches who post inappropriate things about clients. In mental health, our clients and patients are protected by confidentiality laws. Not so again for life coaches or healers. I recently saw a post that one of such healers treated a suicidal patient! I am a healer myself, but since I am trained in both, I know that client must be first properly diagnosed.
This is the main point of my post today, to help my colleagues and my clients better understand when selecting the best practitioner for the challenge that they are going through. If client is suicidal and has a history of mental illness, the western medicine still has its value and taking medication can be life-saving at times.
I think that the only solution here is to train doctors and therapists about alternative, holistic, and more natural ways of healing mental illnesses as well and not automatically prescribe medication but give their clients more options and work collaboratively with other holistic practitioners which is in client’s best interest. Unfortunately doctors, including psychiatrists, have usually only 10 minutes to spend with a patient, as a part of the managed health care system. This really affects the quality of care.
When I was at the graduate school at the University of Miami, DSM became my “bible.” According to Wikipedia, “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association, offers a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders. It is used, or relied upon, by clinicians, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, the legal system, and policy makers together with alternatives such as the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), produced by the World Health Organization (WHO). The DSM is now in its fifth edition, DSM-5, published on May 18, 2013“ (for more see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diagnostic_and_Statistical_Manual_of_Mental_Disorders)
This diagnosis is crucial in determining, based on the symptoms, what the best course of treatment would be, which typically includes individual psychotherapy with a licensed clinician, such as marriage and family therapist, or a mental health counselor. This is where a life coach would not be able to properly diagnose client and put client at risk as sometimes underlying mental illness is not so easily observed by a lay-person, even if this person is a life coach or a healer. Alternative healing methods can be of great benefit as complimentary treatments, but not as a stand-alone approach.
Just think about it. Would you go to a doctor when you are experiencing a heart attack and dial 911, or go to somebody like a chiropractic? Each specialty has its importance. I sometimes explain people what I do, it has so many parts to it. The best I can say is that I am just like a medical doctor except I don’t deal with people’s bodies, but minds and hearts.
Please share this very important information with colleagues, family, and friends. My goal is to continue educating healthcare customers so as to prevent tragic deaths as a result of ignorance. I offer a COMPLIMENTARY 15 minute consultation. Ph 561-299-1028.