The Role of Health Coaching in Ketamine Therapy

August 12, 2022

Nue Life

Nue Life

“I’m a Health Coach at Nue Life because I am aligned with this mission to help as many people as possible transform their lives. But this isn’t my job, this is my life purpose.”

Emily Dorrien Flynn, Nue Life Health Coach

Top points

  • A health coach meets a client where they’re at to create strategies for moving forward and becoming the person they want to be.
  • There are many training programs and credentials to look for when seeking out a health coach.
  • Health coaches are proving to be an integral component of healthcare when it comes to prevention of chronic illness.
  • Health coaching supports the integration process of ketamine therapy by building on new thought patterns to create lasting behavioral and mental change.

At Nue Life, we believe that ketamine therapy encompasses so much more than merely taking the medicine. Like other psychedelic treatments for mental health, ketamine is a catalyst that opens the door for new, positive thought patterns and behaviors, making a healthy lifestyle attainable and sustainable.

Integration of the insights gained from the ketamine experiences is vital to achieving lasting change. All Nue Life treatment programs include one-on-one health coaching sessions to ensure that clients get the most out of their treatment and have optimal support to create positive, long-lasting mental and physical change.

But some may be unfamiliar with what precisely health coaches do and how they differ from physicians, therapists, and trainers.

We spoke with Nue Life Health Coach Emily Dorrien Flynn on the process of health coaching, how it pertains to ketamine therapy, and how it’s impacting healthcare.

So let’s take a closer look at this impactful movement in healthcare and why it’s such an integral companion to ketamine therapy.

What Is a Health Coach and What Do They Do?

Simply put, a health coach works to help you get “unstuck” from negative habits and thoughts that are keeping you from achieving your health and wellness goals. A health coach is your personal health guide, partner, and motivator.

“Every single client is unique,” says Flynn. “My objective as their coach is to first meet them where they’re at. I open up space to hear their vision, their challenges, and their current situation. From there, I can begin to help identify some steps to take them from where they are to where they want to be.”

Some examples of how a health coach helps a client include addressing proper nutrition, developing a more active lifestyle, and improving sleep patterns. The health coach helps their client understand the “why” behind a desired health goal as well as strategies to reach it.

How Does One Become a Health Coach?

While there isn’t one clear path to becoming a health coach, there are many health coaching certification and training programs out there so that one can feel confident in a coach’s credentials.

Flynn received her health coaching certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition after being certified as a personal trainer, nutritionist, and behavioral change specialist with the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

“After working with clients for years as a master personal trainer and nutrition coach, I became determined to help them reach that next level,” she explains. “Sure, they achieved success in their physical goals in our work together, but it’s in the habits, thoughts, decisions and lifestyle that would allow them to reach a complete transformation in their quality of life.”

How Is Health Coaching Affecting Healthcare?

A 2013 study from Global Advances in Health and Medicine on the role of health coaching in healthcare reform revealed that knowledge or education by itself does not promote change.

However, when motivation is added into the equation, change is likely to occur.

The study goes on to say, “Healthcare professionals have long provided health education to patients, frequently with mixed results due to time constraints, reimbursement, and resource availability.”

This is where health coaching is making a difference, by helping to create more healthy thoughts and behaviors, thereby preventing serious illness before it occurs. The old saying goes “prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and health coaches provide a path to prevention.

The study concludes, “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and its focus on greater patient responsibility and accountability for individual health will only increase the need for health coaching as a profession and open opportunities for practitioners within the field.”

Flynn believes that health coaches are the missing link in healthcare.

“How often have we left the doctor’s office without answers to the struggles we’ve been dealing with? How often do we get a health warning or diagnosis, and the only solution we’re presented with is to start yet another medication?” she says.

For Flynn, health coaches should be a part of a patient’s medical team, helping them to implement the shifts in their day-to-day that contribute to their physical and mental struggles, and which ultimately lead to health risks.

“If the individual has the confidence and ‘tools’ to self-manage their chronic health conditions, their quality of life will improve, and they become less dependent on medications, thus creating a more empowered approach to healthcare,” she says.

Health Coaching and Ketamine Therapy

So how does health coaching contribute to successful ketamine therapy? Earlier we said that the role of health coaches is to help a client or patient become “unstuck” from negative thoughts or behaviors.

By working on the neurotransmitter glutamate, ketamine creates new neural pathways which help to break the cycle of negative thinking. This can open a window for a new outlook on oneself and the world at large .

Flynn points out that the choices we make everyday that include our habits, thoughts, decisions, and lifestyle, also “fire” the brain in a certain way. And for many people, their brain has been firing in an unsupportive way that does not align with how they want to be. This creates that feeling and sense of being stuck.

“The health coaching team at Nue Life can help the client identify an area specific to them, that they can begin to shift in their day to day, helping to fire the brain in a new, more supportive way,” she explains. “Alongside their ketamine experiences, this can begin to build a solid foundation at a faster rate than doing just one or the other alone.”

The human brain is a muscle of habit, and breaking habits can be extremely difficult. But each time you can manage to choose a more positive, joyful feeling or behavior, you will begin to create and strengthen the desirable neural pathways to replace the negative ones.

Nue Life is a ketamine therapy program that doesn’t want you to be on the medicine for the rest of your life. The ketamine opens the door for change, and health coaching and integration help you to walk through it and not turn back.  

Many clients are here because they’ve tried all the things. Oftentimes, Nue Life is a last resort,” Flynn says. “To witness a client go from just wanting to be able to get out of bed each day, to actually enjoying trips with family and friends, is mind-blowing.”  

Treatment at Nue Life

Nue Life believes in holistic treatment, which means that what happens before and after your ketamine experience is equally as important as the experience itself. We want to ensure you have meaningful takeaways from your experiences and help you establish positive new neural pathways.

That’s why we provide one-on-one health coaching and integration group sessions with each of our programs. We’re here to help map out the mind and body connections in your brain and help you discover the insights that lead to true healing.


National Society of Health Coaches

National Library of Medicine | Health Coaching: Adding Value in Healthcare Reform

Cleveland Clinic | Health Coaches: What They Do — and How They Can Help You

Kresser Institute | Health Coaches: What They Are and What They Do

VeryWellFit | Best Health Coach Certification Programs

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