Transitioning Out of Treatment with a Life Coach

By Leslie Davis

If you enter a residential treatment center for drug rehab, alcoholism, depression or any other disorder, you will likely spend a good portion of your first 30 days learning how you got to where you are today. Through work with a therapist, you will examine the underlying issues that feed your depression or use of addictive substances.

But what happens next? How do you take what you’ve learned during treatment and apply it to your life?

That is where life coaches come in. Life coaches help you look at where you are now and create the vision of your ideal future. They do this by helping you examine your core values, looking at where your life is in and out of balance, and helping you set realistic goals.

“We help people gain clarity about what their next step in life is,” said Josie Collins, MS, CPCC, a life coach and counselor at Sierra Tucson, an Arizona treatment center that specializes in drug abuse, alcoholism and depression treatment. “Life coaches help support people along the way and help them do things with grace and ease. We’re here to help people move forward in their lives.”

5 Benefits of a Life Coach

Life coaches can help you move forward so that you can restart your life once you have finished your time at a mental health or addiction treatment center. The transition back to your life should be as seamless as possible, and can be made easier with the help of a life coach. Here are five benefits to having a life coach help you make the transition:

1. Gaining greater clarity about your core values. Through work with a life coach, you can get clarity about who you really are – your core values, strengths and gifts, and the vision you want to create for your own life. “It is so helpful to have someone who champions you and reminds you of who you are, and that the inner critic is never far away,” said Collins, who has been a certified life coach since 2000.

2. Finding balance and fulfillment in life. Once you have clarified your core values, you can work to create a more balanced and fulfilled life. During your time with a life coach, you will likely rank such things as your health, spirituality, career, relationships and finances to determine your satisfaction with each. You will then create realistic goals 3-6 months out of treatment to increase your level of satisfaction and fulfillment in your life. “Real coaching doesn’t happen unless the patient is taking authentic action and moving forward,” Collins said.

3. Realizing that you have much to contribute to life. “Our intention is to see people as creative, resourceful and whole,” Collins said, “and to show them that they have all the answers within themselves.” Doing this means teaching people to use their innate skills to contribute to their lives and give back to others, she added.

4. Getting in touch with your spirituality. Life coaches can help you deepen your spirituality to balance your mind, body and spirit. You will learn to develop your own spiritual practice, whether it be meditation, inspirational cards or music. “We ask people, ‘What feeds your spirit?,’ and have them implement that in their lives,” Collins said. “When your spirit is alive and engaged in life, and you feel full, you don’t have to resort to addictions.”

5. Helping you develop a “toolbox” of recovery skills. Beyond teaching such skills as better communication and how to find balance in life, a life coach can help you create a concrete aftercare plan and a solid support system. “A lot of the work we do is helping people look at the negative thoughts and beliefs that are causing them suffering and helping them learn to turn them to more positive thoughts and beliefs,” Collins said.

Life Coaches at Treatment Centers

You may think you’ll be left on your own after completing treatment at a substance abuse or depression treatment center. Life coaches are there to help you make the transition back to your life so that you don’t feel as lost.

At Sierra Tucson, you will work with life coaches individually and in groups. During your one-on-one time, you will establish your core values and do exercises that help you visualize the person you want to be. Group coaching sessions will focus on a particular issue, such as co-dependency, lack of boundaries or communication, which can best be discussed among many people.

Life coaches are made available at Sierra Tucson once patients enter the center’s Progressions program. Patients enter the program after they have already been through basic drug, alcohol or depression treatment and are working to transition from the center to their regular life or to the next phase of treatment.

“While at Sierra Tucson, patients have the opportunity to make appointments or contacts to make their transition smoother,” Collins said. “It provides a good way to deepen their learning, integrate what they learned and apply it to their life.”