I found out recently that the counseling degree I received in 1980 became licensable in New York State in 2005. Had I learned this when it first happened, I could have been grandfathered in and my services would have been eligible for insurance reimbursement. But unfortunately, I found out only a few weeks ago – long after the grandfathering deadline of January 1, 2006. I could still go through the licensing procedure, but it would take years and may not be realistic without the grandfathering – all of which caused me to reassess my fees.
I originally based my fees on what’s usually charged for life coaching, which can be quite expensive (double what I’d been charging) and is never covered by insurance. But in practice I’ve found that my fees put coaching in reach only for affluent clients, and I don’t want to only help affluent clients. So last week I decided to significantly lower my coaching rates.
I posted about this in the Normal Eating forum, and it led to an interesting discussion about phone coaching – who needs it, when do you need it, how does it work? Questions and answers follow.
Who should consider coaching?
Well, first I’ll say that everyone working on Normal Eating should have some type of support. This is very important. There is so much social pressure to diet and be obsessive about your body that it’s very difficult to do this without some sort of antidote to that.
For some, the Normal Eating forum is enough. The forum is wonderfully supportive, and is also very affordable – just a one-time fee.
Coaching is qualitatively different – it’s similar to the difference between joining a gym and hiring a personal trainer. Coaching focuses you much more intensely on your eating issues so you can identify what’s holding you back and get past it quicker.
I got the impression in the forum discussion that some people felt they shouldn’t need this – that only people who are too weak to do it on their own need coaching. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Hiring a coach is very similar to hiring a personal trainer at the gym – it just gets you where you’re going faster. Anyone working on Normal Eating will benefit from coaching. It’s just a question of whether you want to do this for yourself.
Is coaching covered by insurance?
Unfortunately, no, coaching isn’t covered by insurance. Licensing is required for insurance coverage. As of 2005, my degree in counseling qualifies me to be licensed in New York State as a Mental Health Counselor, but I did not find this out quickly enough to be grandfathered in (I received my degree in 1980). Without grandfathering, the licensing process is very time consuming and difficult. So instead I’ve lowered my rates by almost 50%, which amounts to much the same thing since most insurance policies cover 50% of mental health services.
Can you talk to clients in Europe with Skype?
I have a Skype account, so the only obstacle in talking to clients in other countries is time zones. Generally there is no problem with the United Kingdom. Late afternoon or evening there (when people get off work) is morning or afternoon where I am. That works well.
How do I start phone coaching?
Send me email, and we’ll figure out a time for our first appointment. I’ll ask you to prepare for our first appointment by sending me your weight history, written in the Normal Eating style, and to send this to me at least an hour before we talk. This special way of writing the weight history is described in my book, Normal Eating for Normal Weight, and is designed to get at hidden patterns and triggers. We’ll spend the first session talking about your history and your goals for coaching. What happens next depends on your individual needs and issues.
So what does coaching cost? For the most recent pricing, please visit the Personal Coaching page on the Web site.
If you have comments or questions about coaching, please post them. I’d love to hear from you!