The program is designed to prepare you with the knowledge, skills, and confidence you need to connect meaningfully with clients, partner effectively with practitioners, and find fulfillment in a career you love. With an emphasis on personal exploration, experiential exercises, and practical application of concepts, you’ll graduate from FMCA a fully-capable Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach.
The Functional Medicine model is an individualized, patient-centered, science-based approach that empowers patients and practitioners to work together to address the underlying causes of disease and promote optimal wellness. In asking how and why illness occurs, Functional Medicine addresses the root causes of disease to restore health. Each patient’s genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle data factor into the creation of a personalized treatment plan. This approach has led to such compelling clinical outcomes that major academic health centers and health systems are now implementing Functional Medicine. And The Institute for Functional Medicine is “accredited with commendation” by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the highest level of recognition for evidence-based continuing medical education providers.
Functional Medicine Certified Health Coaches engage in a collaborative partnership with their clients, listening to their concerns and helping them address key lifestyle factors to create sustainable long term health and well-being.
A departure from the “one size fits all” take on nutrition, Functional Medicine practitioners advocate a personalized approach rooted in the principle that food is medicine. Because whole, real foods embody the life force that brings health, energy and vitality, we focus on understanding foods’ healing properties and emphasize the power of cooking. Food is also an environmental factor that we look at when considering genetic expression. Recognizing which foods create toxic or inflammatory effects and helping clients to have a better understanding of these concepts also constitute an important area of study.
As important as what we eat is how, when, and why we eat. Our intensive study of the psychology of eating addresses these underlying factors, including the various emotional states that drive food choices and eating behaviors.
“Mind-body medicine” refers to the exciting field of study that examines how emotions, thoughts, imagery, and beliefs directly impact physical health, including DNA expression. This approach integrates researched and proven techniques such as abdominal breathing, guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation to lower the stress reaction and generate a systemic healing response.
The Functional Medicine approach means we don’t just aim for the absence of disease, but for thriving. What do we need to thrive? For this answer, we turn to positive psychology: the scientific study of the strengths and virtues that foster well-being and make life worth living. Based on the research that demonstrates living a more meaningful and fulfilling life can create positive health outcomes, this orientation looks at how to nurture what’s best within us.
The Art and Science of Coaching
In order to help our clients integrate and sustain long-term health changes, we use the art and science of coaching. This facilitative approach is centered around the collaborative partnership between client and coach, in which the coach empowers the client to identify and work toward their needs and goals and deal with any barriers they face. A Health Coach picks up where a Functional Medicine practitioner has left off, helping clients create and execute a plan that moves beyond the diagnosis-prescription model and inspires them on the path to better health.
Month 12: Consolidating Learning, Tracking Progress, And Preparing To Move On
• Ethical guidelines and core competencies for certification • The Business of Coaching •The future of coaching • Overcoming fears • What coaches need to know about HIPAA
Month 11: The Functional Coaching Approach To Coaching Challenges
• Working with a functional medicine collaborative care team • Where to start when physician expectations are high and client motivation is low • How to keep coaching simple to prevent clients from becoming overwhelmed • Self-care in coaching • Review of functional medicine lab testing • Corporate wellness
Month 10: Running Group Wellness And Body Composition Programs
• Using character strengths to help clients who are overweight or underweight• Integrating detox into a healthy weight loss plan • Food plans for healthy weight loss • How to run virtual and clinic-based groups • Coaching clients with distorted relationships to food
Month 9: Coaching Strategies For Working Through Emotional Content
• Using character strengths to heal from depression and anxiety • Mood disorders, inflammation, toxicity and hormone imbalance • Mood foods: Managing challenging cravings • Reading food and supplement labels • Cooking for a healthy mind • Coaching behavior with wearables
Month 8: Coaching Strategies For Clients With Challenging Gastrointestinal And Immune Compromise Conditions
• Intestinal permeability and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth • Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity • The gut-brain-obesity link • Gut healing foods • Visualization to strengthen the immune response • Introduction to the business of coaching
Month 7: Integrating Detoxification Into A Functional Medicine Coaching Practice
• Shedding toxic thoughts • Toxins and illness • Ensuring a safe detox • Therapeutic foods to support detoxification • Influences of the food and advertising industries • Whole self detox: Mental-Emotional-Spiritual
Month 6: Creating And Sustaining Energy And Resiliency
• Techniques for implementing specific food and exercise plans • Common causes of fatigue and decline in resiliency • Function of the mitochondria in cellular energy production • Eating to increase energy and slow aging • Considerations for meal timing • Mindfulness and meditation for generating energy and resiliency • Navigating coaching challenges
Month 5: Improving Communication & Hormone Balance Through Positive Psychology And Functional Medicine
• Using character strengths to improve communication • Nonverbal communication in coaching • Stress, adrenal dysfunction and hormone balance • The thyroid connection • Insulin and hormone balance • Dietary impact on blood sugar regulation • Movement and physical activity for a healthy lifestyle • Dietary plans for hormonal issues • Emotional eating as a response to hormone fluctuations • Learning to use HeartMath
Month 4: Supporting Digestion & Reducing Inflammation Through Healthy Lifestyle And Behavior Change
• Digestion basics • Reducing inflammation through character strengths • Stress as a source of inflammation; inflammation as a source of stress • The Functional Medicine elimination diet • Sugar and inflammation • Emotional eating • Explaining the relaxation response • Inflammation-reducing imagery
Month 3: Targeting Goals With Values-Based Nutrition And Lifestyle Change
• Mindfulness-based strengths training • The Functional Medicine matrix • Diet and nutrition journal • Phytonutrients • Family, peer, cultural influences • Breathing techniques • Mindful eating • Goal setting
Month 2: The Power Of The Personal Narrative In The Coaching Conversation
• Recognizing character strengths • Listening to the story and developing a timeline • Effects of personality, age and gender on eating habits
Month 1: Coaching Fundamentals And Creating Positive Coaching Relationships
• Gain inspiration from leaders in functional medicine, positive psychology and coaching • Learn positive psychology fundamentals and basic coaching skills