Imagine: You’re a busy FxMed clinician, working overtime treating, educating and supporting your patients as they transition to a new state of health. It’s exciting, and you’re inspired to be practicing medicine in a way you never thought possible.
But (to put it mildly) you’re struggling with time management: FxMed is a lot of work! And then into your life comes an individual just as passionate as you are about functional medicine, who happens to be a trained, certified Functional Medicine Coach!
They’ve learned the “ins and outs” of Positive Psychology, so they understand the change process and can guide your patients supportively and effectively. They’re also familiar with the Functional Medicine model, having been taught by many IFM faculty, so they can assist you with educating and “translating” the FxMed processes.
Would this individual be a Godsend to your practice? YES! Learn about functional medicine’s newest team member in this podcast with the Founder and CEO of the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy, Dr. Sandy Scheinbaum.
This podcast is perfect for clinicians, folks interested in a FxMed Coaching career, and anyone interested in the process of FxMed.
For more info about Dr. H Rejoint and our professional program, go to www.rejointyourself.com and use the code DRKARA
Pearls from Dr. Sandra Scheinbaum
- What is Positive Psychology, and how is it used in health coaching?
- How will FxMed Coaches assist clinicians practicing functional medicine?
- IFM’s involvement in FMCA
- Is this an appropriate path for clinicians, too?
- The FMCA’s program structure
- Faculty involved in the training.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: Hi everybody and welcome to New Frontiers in Functional Medicine bringing you the best minds in functional medicine and today is no exception. I’m Dr. Kara Fitzgerald.
Today, we’re going to be talking about all things coaching in functional medicine. I have with me Dr. Sandra Scheinbaum who founded the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy.
Dr. Scheinbaum is also an Institute for Functional Medicine certified practitioner. She was licensed as a clinical psychologist for over 35 years, specializing in blending mind-body medicine with positive psychology. She established a clinic for children and adults with attention deficit disorders and ran a clinic for treating panic and anxiety. She’s a board certified senior fellow in Biofeedback, certified health coach and registered yoga instructor.
She held faculty positions at National Lewis University and the University of Western States and was on medical staff at North Shore University Health Systems and Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital for many years. Dr. Scheinbaum is the author of Stop Panic Attacks in 10 Easy Steps: Using Functional Medicine to Calm Your Mind and Body with Drug-Free Techniques and also How to Give Clients the Skills to Stop Panic Attacks: Don’t Forget to Breathe and conducted one of the first controlled studies of neurofeedback and the treatment of ADD. She’s passionate about transforming healthcare by training health coaches to integrate the positive psychology model of coaching with functional medicine approach to reversing chronic illness.
This is such a needed area and Sandy, you’re ideally suited to be launching this program. Welcome.
Dr. Scheinbaum: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: I’m excited to learn about it. So talk to me a little bit about your journey towards founding the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy.
Dr. Scheinbaum: Sure. My journey started way back in 1970s, 1971 when I failed student teaching. My nature was elementary education. And if you didn’t get an A, then forget about it, no school district was going to hire you.
So I went to plan B, which was I stayed on, got a masters in Learning Disabilities, figuring that if I’m not so good in the classroom, I can do one-to-one diagnostic work and mediation with kids.
So I of course got a job in the classroom with not only kids’ learning disabilities, but their behavior disorders. I went back to school and I learned everything I could to become an expert in applied behavior analysis, which then led to reading workshops for the parents of kids that I was working with and how to manage behavior at home, which then led to getting a Doctorate in Critical Psychology.
And then my Doctoral program, I was really interested in mind-body medicine, which at the time was pretty radical and unheard of. And I merged that with positive psychology and along the way started using nutrition, which again just was pretty out of the box. We just didn’t go there. But I was always very, very interested in that on the personal level on food and the connection between food and mood and behavior.
And I found functional medicine, but it’s rare as a psychologist. So I’m just always the other in conferences. When they ask for show of hands of who is a physician or nurse practitioner and there’s always other at the end and I would be the one other.
So it was a natural progression to looking at health coaching because I had, on the way, gotten training as a health coach. And so my vision was to establish a program for health coaches giving the framework in functional medicine, going back to my roots as an educator.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: That’s beautiful. It really is your life and your career. Your work has brought you here. It’s such a powerful background to be exactly the one, the other to put this together. It’s pretty amazing.
And your program is established in collaboration with the IFM, the Institute for Functional Medicine where I’m faculty. And by the way, I’ll be doing some coaching with you. I’m looking forward to teaching. And I see a lot of my friends involved in teaching.
Just tell people who aren’t aware of the Institute for Functional Medicine, what the institute does, who they are and get some of the background on how they’re involved.
Dr. Scheinbaum: Sure. So the Institute for Functional Medicine trains practitioners in an evidence-based, science-based approach looking at systems biology and digging deep to the root causes of illness. And it’s based on, again, the study of systems and connections. It’s dynamic and transformational and it’s personalized.
My first experience in functional medicine when I went to the IFM CP applied functional medicine clinical practice. As I learned this unique way of looking at personalizing medicine, I got to my original studies in learning disabilities and how similar it was because at that time, rather than just saying, “Oh, here’s a child that’s diagnosed with dyslexia and we’ll give him some reading techniques, put him in special ed and that’s it.” But we really were trained to dig down to the whys.
Why is this child dyslexic? It could be they have a attentional issue. It could be they have processing problem with visual perception. It could be an auditory processing issue. So we specialize testing to find that out and develop a personalized plan. It’s exactly what functional medicine does where you dig down through a specialized testing often and develop a personalized plan.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: That’s right.
Dr. Scheinbaum: There’s one symptom and many causes.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: Right, that’s right. We definitely cast a wide knot and use a systems model to figure out what’s going on with the individual. It’s a powerful approach.
So working with IFM, what makes your health coaching system unique?
Dr. Scheinbaum: We have paired the functional medicine framework as way of looking at chronic illness and paired that with positive psychology coaching to develop a new operating system because as I looked at what positive psychology is and that’s the study of what we need to thrive. And so both functional medicine and positive psychology are about what an individual needs to thrive, looking at what they need for optimal wellness.
So we paired these two systems and we’re also looking at a new delivery model, which is training coaches to work side by side with functional medicine practitioners on collaborative care teams.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: Yes. Yes. I know. As you and I were dialoging before we started the podcast, I was telling you that I’ve been spending some time looking closely at what you’re doing, how you’d be appropriate for a number of my staff here. I could see my front office people just really gaining benefit from understanding it.
But also I can see the utility of this kind of training working close with me, so somebody who’s got this background just really assisting me and walking through the patients through the various aspects of the work that I do with them and assisting them. I can see how personally my practice would benefit.
Your coaches though, I’m assuming could fit another model as well. Would you say yes?
Dr. Scheinbaum: Correct. So our coaches could go into a conventional medical practice and bring functional medicine to that practice. A physician who wants to bring diet lifestyle medicine to their practice can offer and or groups can offer coaching in it. So it’s a way for that coach to start educating that physician about functional medicine.
We also have many existing coaches who are taking our program because they want to add functional medicine care with positive psychology piece to their existing practice. Maybe they’re entrepreneurs and they have a private practice and they want to hone their skills.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: Yeah. It makes a lot of sense. And I understand why you, back on positive psychology, would be so useful so that you can give the didactic. You can teach the functional medicine model and move through the various aspects of that, the matrix, the clinical imbalances and so forth that we use in functional medicine.
But then having that positive psychology background where the coach is actually able to energize the patients, the clients, inspire them to engage in this process, this transformative process, I think that positive psychology piece will be very useful and it really sets you apart.
Dr. Scheinbaum: Yeah, absolutely. And both positive psychology and functional medicine are evidence-based. I’m really big on the evidence proven approach. And positive psychology is rooted in science.
Carol Kauffman who is the co-founder of the Harvard Institute of Coaching who is a positive psychology coach, she describes this. She said positive psychology is the scientific leg on which the field of coaching can stand. It provides evidence.
So we dig into what someone needs to flourish. It’s based on Marty Seligman’s work who is one of the fathers of positive psychology. He looks at what people need to thrive. And functional medicine also looks at that, but in positive psychology, we’re looking at the pillars of wellbeing.
We use character strengths as the way to help someone find that wellbeing. And character strengths are really the features that make you you. They’re stable overtime and we really dig into this and help teach coaches how to identify those characteristics within themselves and how to nurture them and their clients. And we actually add them to the functional medicine timeline.
So there are things like creativity, love of learning, depth, gratitude, hope, kindness, some are of the mind, some are of heart, some are interpersonal, some are intrapersonal. But this is the way that people change by accessing their strengths.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: Right. And you blend this with the functional medicine model as well.
Dr. Scheinbaum: Yeah. Absolutely. For example, if we’re mapping the functional medicine timeline and we’re looking a key period in someone’s life and they’re telling their story. Maybe they’re saying that they’ve gone from one position to another to try and find out what’s wrong with them.
So we would add to that timeline perseverance. When they’re telling their stories, we would look at that character strength. You didn’t just give up when you went to that one doctor and got that initial diagnosis. You persevered. Or maybe you used courage to deal with pain or chronic disease. So we look at those character strengths and help someone further use those strengths.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: That’s great. That’s a really lovely way to look at it. Or even just the individual, the patient who’s taking the leap to move into the integrative model.
How would you apply the positive psychology piece to assisting somebody adapting one of the therapeutic diets we might prescribe that can be anxiety-provoking actually to put it mildly for some?
Dr. Scheinbaum: Sure. We would use bravery. We would have them be very mindful of when they were brave. And we might partner with them to find 20 seconds of courage to bravery to try new food, bravery to deal with a loss of some of their favorite foods that they’ve been told aren’t good for them. So that’s bravery, courage.
We would also get into an area that – Richard Boyatzis was one of our guest faculty. He’s at Case Western Reserve and he has done a lot of research on emotional intelligence and what he describes as positive emotional attractors.
So core values, we would have a conversation with a client to have them access what is really going to motivate them. And this moves way beyond establishing the specific goal, but it’s imagining where you want to be in 10 years and what would that look like.
So if they’re saying, “I want to walk my daughter down into the aisle” or something that is really accessing a core value that has to do with their family, their community. So another character strengths that we might use there would be love, kindness, teaching them to nurture self-kindness for example.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: Now, you’re going to be marrying this to the rigorous functional medicine curriculum. So this individual will have this positive psychology background, this particular coach, but they’re also going to understand the why behind that dietary prescription or the why behind the detox protocol that might be prescribed or the various supplements or medications. So they’re also going to have some of that core functional training as part of the curriculum as well.
Can you talk about some of those other components?
Dr. Scheinbaum: Absolutely. So we’re teaching them the basic components of functional medicine beginning with the importance of gathering yourself, selecting information, telling their story. We’re teaching them the timeline, the importance of personal narrative. We’re teaching them the clinical imbalances on the matrix, the importance of antecedents, triggers, mediators or going around the matrix, starting with digestion and inflammation.
But the way we are teaching it is a way that would be appropriate for a coach and not a practitioner. And we’re asking our faculty to teach as if they were teaching their patients where they were sitting across from a patient and they were to describe a concept so that the coach will be able to answer those questions. The clients may ask, “Hey coach, my doctor says I have leaky gut. What do I do? I don’t know what I’d do.”
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: Yeah.
Dr. Scheinbaum: So the coach would be able to explain that. And also very importantly, the coach works, really exercising boundary issues. So many coaches are out there actually acting as practitioners.
So you want to be really careful that coaches understand what a coach is and that there is a formed consensus that clients understand what a coach.
A coach is not prescribing a diet. A coach is looking at recommendations from a physician, a provider, a dietitian for example and then helping that client. They’re really the allies of that client to help them to carry out that program.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: I got it. I got it. Okay, so clearly the health coach is not the healthcare practitioner. They’re not doing the prescribing, which would be appropriate. I mean I would not want my health coach prescribing, but I would want my health coach to translate what it is I’m prescribing or filling any holes that I haven’t done.
I appreciate that your faculty, who will be doing this, will be talking to the coaches in plain language because it’s challenging, that translation from medical language or from the science into something that’s language in a user-friendly way for the patient.
Dr. Scheinbaum: Yes. It’s very often very difficult for practitioners because they’re experts and it’s hard to transition as a coach, to become a coach and not act as the expert. But it is very important that coaches know the functional medicine terminology or at least know where to look it up. So we’re providing a resource library with terms.
When I was studying for the exams to be certified in the functional medicine, as a psychologist, I didn’t know anything. I just had taken an organic chemistry course that [inaudible 00:18:39] to use in college. So Google is my best friend.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: Wow.
Dr. Scheinbaum: I got all the terminology and the acronyms and abbreviations. So we want to have all that knowledge available, but not memorize. We want them to know where to look it up.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: Geez, Sandy. My hat is off to you for taking the exam and bravo for giving it out and consulting lots of Google and Wikipedia. That’s amazing. But again, it’s just interesting how your path has brought you here because all of this experience you have is going to help and inform this program.
Do practitioners ever want to become coaches or do you recommend the practitioners to become coaches? Where is your position with that?
Dr. Scheinbaum: We have been approached by quite a few practitioners who have identified a need within themselves to learn coaching skills because they want to partner with their patients. They are good practitioners, but they want to become skilled as coaches and especially conventional practitioners who maybe are transitioning to functional medicine practice or boutique practice. So these are skills that they still didn’t get in medical school.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: Yeah.
Dr. Scheinbaum: And they don’t have the time, seven minutes, to be with the patient currently, but they want to become better listeners. They want to again sometimes transition from being that expert just handing them the diet to really learn how to coach the clients or in this case patients.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: So can practitioners be coaches then? Do you accept them into the program?
Dr. Scheinbaum: Absolutely. So it depends where they’re at. We have a number of people who have come up to us. They are already functional medicine practitioners and they want to learn coaching skills.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: Okay.
Dr. Scheinbaum: We discourage someone who is coming to our program to learn functional medicine and they are practitioners. If a physician wants to go through this program to learn functional medicine, we’re encouraging them to apply or to go through the program that IFM runs for physicians because we’re not teaching anyone to be a practitioner. We don’t go through lab analysis for example. And they would be better suited in that program.
But if they’ve already had that knowledge and they just want to learn coaching skills, maybe they want to transition out of medicines and do coaching because they’ve had it with where medicine is at today. And they are looking to just establish a coaching practice.
Many people are practitioners going into selling medicine and they can’t do that because of the license between states, but they could do health coaching in that way.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: I got it. I got it. So somebody who wants to transition into functional medicine as a physician or as a practitioner should go to the IFM, FunctionalMedicine.org. But your program would be very helpful for those of us who want to build on coaching skills set. Yeah, that makes sense.
So what skills does a coach need? What do you look for? What would make a good coach in guiding somebody through these various steps, through the diet and the lifestyle changes that we ask them to make?
Dr. Scheinbaum: Sure. There are three really essential ingredients. And Richard Boyatzis talks about this in Resonant Leadership. And there are actually four now.
The first is mindfulness, learning to be present and really aware. So learning mindfulness begins with self-exploration, so being aware of where you’re at, at that moment, learning how to, as we say in functional medicine, gather yourself before being with the clients. And very mindful of everything that’s going on in that coaching conversation verbally and non-verbally.
And the second test to do this is kindness and not actually character strength, but experiencing that within yourself and looking for that, using that, which is then segue way to the third, which is compassion.
Those are really the essentials. Essentially, we can put the kindness with compassion, but the one I mentioned was hope. So it’s actually mindfulness, hope and compassion. And that leads into just some of the principles from mind-body medicine that has to do with placebo versus nocebo and how you describe something. And just your sense of whether someone is going to thrive.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: Yes.
Dr. Scheinbaum: Clients take off on that right off the bat and they’re really sensitive to that with practitioners as well as coaches. So having that experience that we’re in this together and we’re going to partner to move towards wellness and wellbeing. That sense of mindfulness, you pair that with hope and you pair that with compassion.
And then the additional element would be playfulness, how to use humor, how to really have fun in these conversations as well. So it doesn’t have to be serious all the time.
In fact, I teach a segment on there’s a positive psychology at the movies or there’s a lot that has been written about using the popular culture, using movies, using books, using just other media to further your objective. So there’s a lot that we could learn there. And certainly the use of humor, the use of the arts, they could be really powerful.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: Yeah, I love it. Beautiful. Really comprehensive. I look forward to meeting these graduates. Does one need to have a background in healthcare in order to become a coach?
Dr. Scheinbaum: This is such a great question because we see that yeah, that would be really important. So we do have on our website the criteria that yeah, we would prefer that you have some training, whether you have some healthcare related field as a nurse, as a nutritionist, just background in healthcare.
However, the research does not bear that out. I was just at a conference and [inaudible 00:26:34] (who’s on our faculty, he wrote one of the books that were using wellness coaching for a lasting lifestyle change, one of the key leaders in health coaching world), in his presentation, he was looking at the research and he said, “No, there’s no evidence that coming from a healthcare background makes you a better health and wellness coach.”
And the reason for that again is that we’re not training experts, we’re training coaches. And coaches are those people who can form an alliance with somebody because they are mindful, they’re able to listen and connect with another person and they are fully present and they have hope and compassion.
Sometimes someone who is coming from a different field feels that this is their calling. And we have many people who come to this because they’ve had a healthcare themselves or loved one and now they’re really passionate about working with others.
There’s also a lot of work being done now on peer-to-peer coaching where someone with no background at all is being trained [inaudible 00:27:54], for example, works on that model. So these folks did not come from a healthcare background.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: Okay, good. That’s great. So there’s quite – okay, so anybody who feels this calling can check you out. By the way folks, you can see on the page, you’ll see all of the links to the various sites and how to access Sandy and learn more about the program.
What kind of opportunities do you envision for health coaches and functional medicine certified health coaches in particular?
Dr. Scheinbaum: So the field of health coaching is exploding because as you know, we have a crisis, a tsunami of chronic disease that the chronic medical system cannot take care of. It’s estimated by 2020, one in tow people will be diabetic or on their way to becoming diabetic. So the current model is broken and health coaches are uniquely positioned because they can help inspire someone to make those difficult diet and lifestyle changes that we know are the underlying root causes of chronic disease.
But this is a concept that was unheard of in the ’70s when I was in school who knew from health coaches, but then who knew from [inaudible 00:29:30]? So there’s a lot that back then, we couldn’t have imagined. But the field of health coaching is growing and it’s gaining acceptance.
One of the hospitals that I used to be on staff was a very conservative institution. But I got their cataloging of their different departments. They have a new center where they are helping people with neurodegenerative conditions and I saw that they’re putting together collaborative care teams and on that team is a health coach.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: Wow.
Dr. Scheinbaum: And I just smiled and I was like, “Wow. This is a major institution that would never have considered health coaching some years ago.” Cleveland Clinic, as you know, the center for functional medicine has a health coach on their team.
There’s more and more demand for health coaches. Some people have looked at these care centers or places like some of the drugstores that are having urgent care centers. They are booking into having coaches work there. So, more and more physicians are looking at the possibility of training their office staff. This is something that will be growing.
For functional medicine health coaches, they can be uniquely positioned because functional medicine is rapidly exploding and there are many people who are very eager to work with functional medicine practitioners. So as the field of functional medicine grows, having coaches trained in this approach would be really important.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: Absolutely. There’s no doubt about it. There’s a lot to do when you take care of the whole being.
Dr. Scheinbaum: Yes.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: The other thing that I was thinking about as you were talking was you gave the dismal disease statistics, where we’re headed globally on this disease trajectory and our disease centered medical paradigm.
I think about my own personal, my mission statement to be somebody involved in helping to change the medical paradigm. And this is also what the health coaching is. We need you and we need people jumping in and helping to bail the sinking ship as it were.
Dr. Scheinbaum: Yeah. It’s so true. Our program emphasizes working within the social ecological matrix, observing the community. And so health coaches are really uniquely suited for not just working with the clients, but working with the environment, so going into the home and helping with your basic cooking skills, pantry makeovers, field trips, leading groups where you then get peer-to-peer coaching going on as well.
So it’s not just working one-on-one, but using a group model, using a community model to help that change. And some of our faculty are going to be teaching that approach.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: Oh, perfect. I did notice that you had Shilpa Saxena and she’s really done wonderful work in the group model. And I think it is again one of the essential components of the ripple effect to transform the paradigm.
So from what I understand, the Functional Coaching Academy was granted temporary accreditation by the National Consortium for Credentialing Health and Wellness Coaches, which A, congratulations, that’s great and B, what does it mean?
Dr. Scheinbaum: Sure. This was a group put together by some of the leaders in coaching, Meg Jordan, Mike Arloski was involved. All of them are on our faculty as guest speakers or core faculty. They perceived the need for some standards at the national level because right now, anyone can just sign up and sign and say they’re a health coach and although each program has a certification – our graduates will have that certificate as a functional medicine certified health coach – but there is another level that is really important if we want health coaching to be on the map and have legitimacy and that is to have national standards.
So this committee has been working very hard for a couple of years to put together standards. So what they have done is identified what a program, a health coach training program needs in order for their graduates to be eligible to sit for the national exam. This is a brand new consortium.
The first step is to have each coaching program be granted what they’re calling temporary status. So no program has full accreditation because that doesn’t exist. So we were granted temporary status as uncredited program.
And then the next step is we will apply for full accreditation when that process is in place probably in the next six months. When that happens, then our graduates will be allowed to sit for a national exam, which should happen sometime late 2016 or late 2017. That will mean that our graduates who pass that exam will be certified at the national level, which according to Margaret Moore and others in the field believe that that will really give health coaching credibility as a viable profession and will help major institutions to hire health coaches more and more. So that will really lead to more opportunities for health coaches.
But we’re really excited to be part of it and our program meets those criteria that this consortium has established. And part of that is to be practical. Our program is very practical.
So we teach through webinars, interviews, but we also have a lot of interaction. We have life Q&A’s as the experts. And starting in month six of the program, we have a practicum, which is supervised. It’s a hands-on learning which we feel is critical to becoming a competent coach.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: I’m sure people are wondering. Do they need to travel anywhere for any aspect of this program? Or can they do this online? And even the practicum piece, how do you go about that?
Dr. Scheinbaum: Yes. This is completely online. It’s a global program. We have students now from London, Abu Dhabi. We have someone from Columbia, Mexico, Hong Kong. So we’ve had a number of people applying from around the world. We have lots of different states represented and it’s all online.
The learning management system we use, which is Canvas, is becoming the state of the art learning management system. It’s used by Harvard and my alma mater, Northwestern. And so this is such a cool learning management system. You could do the entire course on an app on your phone. So you could do it anywhere anytime. So it is self-case learning.
And the practicum will be structured in a way that you can do phone coaching, you can do Skype coaching. There are some students who are already in a clinic or they want that live experience. And so we will make that happen for them if they want that type of experience, but it’s not necessary.
In the future, we will build in some conferences, some retreats that will be live. But again, it’s not a part of the program right now and it would not be mandatory.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: Geez. Let me know if you’re looking for sites.
Dr. Scheinbaum: Yeah.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: I think I might enjoy having some of the health coach interns onboard. It sounds like they’d be helpful and fun to work with.
So how long is the program?
Dr. Scheinbaum: It’s 12 months. And students each month have a theme. We have student engagement assignments that go along with a webinar and they also work in small groups.
So we divide the student bodies by groups of 10 to 12 and they work collaboratively on case studies. And this can all be done. For example, in Canvas, they can go to collaborations and all work on a Google Docs together.
So they’re working on case studies. They’re also doing a lot of self-exploration. So when we talk about something like the elimination diet or when we are talking about doing a survey of strength, we encourage them to do these themselves. So it’s a lot of experiential learning, a lot of case studies and a lot of opportunity to interact on a session board to do live Q&As. So they just go month by month through different themes.
We don’t get heavily into the functional medicine context until about the third or fourth month because we really want them to be introduced to the coaching skills.
Usually we have some wonderful faculty who are teaching or our coaching staff who are teaching those components. So it’s how to establish rapport, how to do motivational interviewing, how to start with full setting. And then we introduce the heavier functional medicine content, but it’s 12 months. In month six is when we start a practicum.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: Okay. Is it possible to do it sooner or it’s paced intentionally?
Dr. Scheinbaum: It’s intentionally paced. We want them to have the foundations before they go into the practicum.
We want to have enough time where we experience coaching with another. So from one month, they’re assigned a buddy, a student partner. And so they coach a student and being coached by a fellow student.
We also have established training videos. It’s actually professional. We have a contract. We use professional actors in LA and they are playing the part of patients or clients. And then we have an actress who is playing the role of the coach. So students are seeing both great coaching going on and really bad coaching. We use examples of everything that can be inappropriate and show what that looks like.
And then students are asked. We then stop, pause the video and say, “What would you do? What would you say back? How would you proceed in this situation?”
So these are characters that we found out throughout the course. We learn their stories. Students map their timeline. They do a matrix on them and then they see them in the training video.
I just did research and found that in medical schools, that’s the way for medical students to learn. It’s not by showing and not by actually clocking it through, but by having video and having them watch over and over again the procedure. So that’s what we’re following.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: Wow. I look forward to seeing some of it. Great. So you have touched on why your program is unique. But I just want to circle back to that and ask you if there’s anything. I mean it sounds like you really burst something beautiful.
So you’re combining functional medicine with this positive psychology plus your years of experience. Is there anything else that you want to add that just what makes your program stand out in the world of other coaching programs?
Dr. Scheinbaum: Sure. We’re also integrating mind-body medicine. And that is my learning. We also have our core faculty, Deanna Minich and Monique Class who are very skilled teachers experienced in mind-body medicine. So we’re bringing in that component and the function and nutrition piece.
So we give students access to this IFM e-course in function and nutrition. And we also have a lot of faculty members from IFM who specialize in the nutrition piece. So we are bringing that in.
We have a little bit of our cooking skills. Rebecca Katz is going to be with us. We’re going to arrange demos. “Come on to my house. We’re going to film something cool.”
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: Nice.
Dr. Scheinbaum: They’re cooking with [inaudible 00:43:59]. Basic cooking skills is a very important component that I wanted to add. So it’s not just nutrition, but we never separate nutrition. With our background, it’s the Psychology of Eating. That’s a program that I taught at University of Western States.
We’re looking at all of the different factors that influence how you eat, why you eat. And it ranges from your personality, your age, your gender to influences of family, of peers, of your culture, your ethnicity. So we explore all of those factors and help a coach to be very aware of all of those. When someone is in a conversation with them and when they’re with a client and they’re talking about for example food, it’s not just that person there, but their families with them and their friends and their communities. So they have to be very, very aware of all those influences.
And also the marketing influences, Brian Wansink’s work in Cornell where he [inaudible 00:45:11] the influences of how we’re manipulated by different cues that we have no idea we’re manipulated by. We eat more if – we rate a restaurant as better, the food better, tasty, it’s delighting in a certain way for example or the décor or how it’s described on the menus. So we are very aware of all those aspects too.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: It’s so interesting. And then you also have a lot of us from the different modules at IFM. So I’m on immune module. Bob Rountree is going to be participating. He’s also on immune. He’s on gut and detox. And Michael Stone and just a lot of my colleagues and friends are going to be jumping in and teaching functional medicine as well.
So where can folks go to learn about the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy?
Dr. Scheinbaum: They can go to our website, which is FunctionalMedicineCoaching.org. And that will give them a ticket to curriculum, who our faculties are. Our Board of Advisers, we have an incredible Board of Advisers, including David Jones. He’s very supportive of our program.
Kristi Hughes is our liaison with IFM. She’s our core coaching faculty as well, Doctor of Medical Education for IFM. So go to our website, FunctionalMedicineCoaching.org.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: Sandy, thanks again for joining me today and sharing your calling and what you’ve created here with your fabulous team. I really appreciate it. And I think that people are going to be interested in it and you’re doing quite a service.
Dr. Scheinbaum: Thank you so much. This has been fun. Thank you for having me.
Dr Kara. Fitzgerald: Absolutely.
Dr. Sandra Scheinbaum is the founder and CEO of the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy. An Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner,
Dr. Scheinbaum was a licensed clinical psychologist for over 35 years, specializing in blending mind-body medicine with positive psychology. She established a clinic for children and adults with attention deficit disorders and ran a clinic for treating panic and anxiety.
A board-certified senior fellow in biofeedback, certified health coach and registered yoga instructor, she held faculty positions at National Lewis University and the University of Western States and was on the medical staff of North Shore University Health Systems and Northwestern Lake-Forest Hospital for many years.
Dr. Scheinbaum is the author of Stop Panic Attacks in 10 Easy Steps: Using Functional Medicine to Calm Your Mind and Body with Drug-Free Techniques and How to Give Clients the Skills to Stop Panic Attacks: Don’t Forget to Breathe, and conducted one of the first controlled studies of neurofeedback for the treatment of ADD.
She is passionate about transforming healthcare by training health coaches to integrate the positive psychology model of coaching with the functional medicine approach to reversing chronic illness.