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  • Writer's pictureKatrina O'Duffy

Our healthcare system vs health coaching: Short appointments & prescriptions

How to be in control of your own health

Have you ever been to the doctor for your 10-min slot and when they asked ‘what can I do for you today’ you started to list the things you would like to discuss and they said, ‘I’m really sorry we can only cover one of those things in this appointment’?.

This has happened to me on numerous occasions. I’m not blaming the doctor for this, it’s not their fault but the fault of the system that they are working in. Years ago, people used to have a more personal relationship with their doctor, they would know a person's family background, history and have time. TIME being the significant word here. When someone has time they have more space to listen, and when they listen they can see the fuller picture.

Sadly, the waiting times to see a GP or a specialist in the UK have further rocketed since the pandemic which not only means your symptoms could be getting worse but when you’re in the room with the GP they unfortunately aren’t able to give you the time you need to help look at you as a whole person.

What do I mean by 'as a whole person'?

Our whole body is connected, so for example, when you have a pain in your hip it could be there because it has been bearing the strain from the way you walk. So, in order to fix your hip you actually need to look at how you’re walking. In the same way, when you go to the doctor with symptoms, they don’t always have time to look at WHY you have the symptom, so instead they may prescribe you some medication to remove the symptom or pain for the time being - great, right? BUT it hasn’t solved the actual issue and therefore you either stay on the medication long term or the symptom may keep reoccurring.

Now, I’m not saying we don’t need medication and interventions - they are vital when we are in need of them. But if we were to actually look at the root of most chronic issues, many can be solved and/or helped by changing things in your lifestyle. For example, I suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and I went to the doctors around 20 times over the course of seven years for this issue. I was only advised to take over the counter medication to relieve the pain when a flare up occurred - I wasn't asked any questions about my lifestyle or offered any advice for prevention of a flare-up.

After a while of being bored of the pain I made a decision to deep dive into how I could help myself and prevent the flare-ups instead of just dealing with the pain when they occurred (I'll be posting another blog about this shortly and will update with a link when it is live or you can subscribe below to our blog so you don't miss it). IBS is called a syndrome because doctors are not sure what the official cause is and it presents differently for everyone but that doesn't mean there is no hope for you to make changes that will get to the root cause. This is one of the reasons, why I became a health coach and why we are seeing an increase in the amount of functional or integrated doctors and people talking about preventative medicine.

So, what actually is a health and wellness coach?

A health & wellness coach is a partner who works with clients looking to enhance their wellbeing through self-directed lasting changes, aligned with their values. The National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC) explains how coaches use behaviour change theories, motivational strategies, and health education to support the client until the desired outcome is achieved.

Personally, as a health and wellness coach, I describe myself as your partner and ally in health and wellness. I take the time to listen and understand you as a whole person and support you on your individual journey to discover what works for you to improve your health and wellbeing.

Dr Mark Hyman, a well-respected Functional Doctor, commented: “Most health plans, whether they’re about losing weight, exercising more, or quitting bad habits, aren’t designed to last. This is because they’re based on an incorrect assumption that all you need is willpower and motivation. In truth, we all need a support system to help guide us toward sustainable behaviour and lifestyle change. And the reality is that the majority of healthcare actually happens outside of the doctor’s office.”

If you want to see more on why working with a health coaches will help you - watch this short video: Why Health Coaches Are Behavior Change Ninjas

How else can a health coach help?

A health & wellness coach can also be there for you if you:

  • Have been prescribed a diet by a nutritionist

  • Have been advised by a doctor to eat differently or move more but you don’t where to start

  • Need pointing in the right direction of holistic therapies or tests to help you move forward

If you would like to start thinking holistically about your body as whole, then My Collective Compass is here to help you to do that. We will continue to publish more blogs and we're always here to help coach you through your journey whenever you need us.

Want to keep learning?

Subscribe below to our blog to keep learning more about holistic health and wellness. Or if you'd like to discuss working with me, a health & wellness coach, my door is always open.

Hi there, we hope you found value in reading this blog!   


We are a small team of passionate people trying to enable others to benefit from our own wellness journeys, research and expertise in behavioural change. Our blog is where you'll find our growing hub of easy to digest insights and inspiration to support you in finding natural and holistic ways to be well. We also invite guest bloggers from a wide range of holistic health practitioners to contribute so that you can benefit from a collective of knowledge. If there's a particular area you'd like to hear more from us about, please do let us know! 


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Thank you! 

Katrina & Emma – My Collective Compass founders 

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