Your doctor isn't a therapist. And your therapist isn't a health coach. And your health coach isn't a therapist or a doctor.
Your doctor isn't a therapist. And your therapist isn't a health coach. And your health coach isn't a therapist or a doctor. But you need all three.
I've been seeing a therapist for a few years now. I started when I was about 27, living in New York, feeling REMARKABLY lost and and confused. I took a break when I left New York and took up a mobile life, but at the end of my yoga teacher training, I went back.
You wouldn't think that I would have needed therapy AFTER yoga teacher training, but that shit will crack you wide open and leave you raw in a truly beautiful way. I suddenly had a new sense of awareness about myself and the world, and WHERE exactly I fit into the puzzle. I started seeing my current therapist, Susan, and I still see her today. I used to go to her weekly, but now I have her on call. I'll shoot her a text: "hey, Susan—when can ya squeeze me in?"
I go, I dump all of my brain onto the floor, and together we sort through it. My favorite thing about Susan is she NEVER tells me what to do; instead, she helps me tap into my inner wisdom.
I credit Susan with being one of the final pieces of the puzzle that moved the needle for me from "in recovery" for an eating disorder to "recovered." Susan would say I did the work, but, without her, would I have made it here? ::shruggy emoji::
I also worked with a health coach for about a year. Alex was another integral puzzle piece. I will never forget the day I was talking to her about my struggle with my body image, and she cut me off, something she RARELY does:
"Brittany, do you think I don't struggle with body image some days? That's part of being human. Not every day is perfect."
It was a REAL moment for me.
My doctor also helped a whole lot. I only saw her twice in the period of time that I was actively working through my recovery, and now only once a year for my annual check up. But she's the one who I went to when I felt completely frustrated with my Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. Other doctors just wanted to put me on the pill. I didn't want that. She listened to me. She told me I could TOTALLY have my flow as a vegetarian. She gave me permission.
My doctor gave me permission to stop blaming myself, and she ran labs to make sure my hormones were okay and ordered an ultrasound to make sure my reproductive organs were all good.
My therapist listened to me and helped me quiet the voice of ED and learn to listen to myself.
My health coach gave me a tool box and helped me dream up the desire to eat meat again, releasing perfection and stepping into desire.
Each one of these women was INTEGRAL to my journey.
But your doctor is not your therapist. You see her maybe a couple times a year, and you get maybe 10-20 minutes with her to talk about your symptoms. She simply doesn't have time to dive deep with you. She has a full patient roster, and she's got to keep it moving. She will order necessary tests, interpret them, and advise you on medications and (if you're lucky) she may make some generic dietary recommendations. Most all of us have a great doctor; if you do, you're very lucky to have her.
Your therapist is not your doctor. You see her a few times a month for your weekly or bi-weekly appointment, and you spend an hour each session deep diving into your past. Your present. Your worries. Your concerns. Your fears. Your hopes. Your dreams. She cares deeply for you and spends the full hour listening to you. You leave feeling better and probably way more clear about your mental state. Some of us have a great therapist (I think they should be prescribed at birth); if you do, you're very lucky to have her.
Your health coach is not your doctor OR your therapist. Your health coach is there to get you RESULTS. Your therapist is there to help you explore into your past and your brain cobwebs to find the ROOT of the issue, and your doctor is there to look under the hood and DIAGNOSE and prescribe.
A health coach's job is to meet your obstacles at the door and help you move them out of the way so you can make the changes you want for yourself.
Your doctor gives you your WHAT.
Your therapist gives you your WHY.
Your health coach gives you your HOW.
What do you do when your doctor makes dietary recommendations that you're totally unprepared to take on? Do you turn to Google and spend an evening reading and trying to get a full education in one night? Overwhelm likely sets in, and you're back where you started, but now you have more agency, which leads to more guilt and disappointment.
I've seen clients make complete shifts in their thoughts around food and body in simply 8 weeks. After years of dieting and shame and food confusion; just 8 weeks can make the difference. It's not magic. It's not easy. It's not a pill or a powder or a cleanse or a diet. It's each woman actively choosing, every day, to take what is offered and incorporate it into her life.
And each woman has a doctor. And I highly recommend a therapist to ALL of my clients. And, as a result, each woman has a TEAM.
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." -Helen Keller
Do you have a doctor, a therapist, and a health coach? What do you think the difference is?
PS: Whenever you’re ready, here are three ways I can help you with food and health this year:
1. Join the Glowing Goddess Guru Beast Mode group and connect with women who are investing in their health and happiness, too.
This is my new Facebook community where women learn to get more of what they want in their body, food, and lives. Click Here
2. If this is the kind of food & life philosophy that you find intriguing, or if you're interested in this kind of approach to eating and living well, you'll really dig the book I'm wrapping up and getting ready for print right this very moment: Glowing Goddess Guru Beast Manifesto. It's now available for pre-sale!!