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What is the future of recovery coaching?

As the Affordable Healthcare Act comes into use in 2014, the


work of recovery coaches in the mental health field as well
as the addictions field will be compensated by Medicare. This
will prompt hospitals, treatment centers and agencies to hire
recovery coaches. The concept of employment for recovery
coaches will only grow from there. Soon, I expect private
health insurance companies may offer partial compensation
to a recovery coach, much like a physical or occupational
therapist receives compensation. I know that many clients
are not waiting for health insurance compensation, and they
hire a recovery coach and pay for the coaching fees out of
their own pocket. The desire to become sober, at any cost, is
what will help many recovery coaches move from a volunteer
position to a paid position or even into their own recovery
coaching practice in the near future.

You mentioned mental health recovery


coaches, can you explain?
A conversation with
Recovery coaches in the mental health field are currently
being trained side by side with addictions recovery coaches. Melissa Killeen, MSOD, MPhil
Although, recovery coaches in the mental health field receive
additional training on mental health diagnosis and brain injury, RECOVERY COACHING:
the two fields are growing side by side and share similar
credentialing and training requirements. However, the first A Guide to Coaching People in Recovery
book about recovery coaching in the mental health field is still from Addictions
in the planning stages.

www.PARfessionals.org
What is recovery coaching? his services and other times doing it out of the goodness of his by side with a treatment team made up of a psychiatrist and an
heart. Timmins, unfortunately, has passed away, but the Timmins addictions counselor. A recovery coach may have a spiritual
Recovery coaching was developed as a way to bridge the gap Foundation carries on his dream. The Timmins Foundation is run practice; however they do not mandate that their spiritual beliefs
between a client leaving a treatment center and entering long by Jeff McFarland, a person that Timmins helped when McFarland be rigidly followed by their client. A recovery coach works with
term recovery. It has been found that 80% of the clients leaving was a homeless, teenage drug addict in a California rehab. Bob a client as the client mandates, or meets the client where they
a treatment center will relapse within ninety days. This is a Timmins is the cornerstone of the recovery coaching field. are. This means in spiritual matters as well as what type of sup-
staggering statistic. port group the client wishes to attend. There are many mutual
What does a recovery coach do? support groups that help a person recovering from substance
William White and other researchers developed the Recovery abuse, not just the 12-step programs like NA or AA. For example
Management Model in the 1990s. This model recognized that Today, there are many job descriptions for a recovery coach: SMART Recovery, Agnostics and Atheists in Recovery, Kund-
if a client leaving a treatment center had someone to work peer support specialist, peer mentor, sober escort, addiction alini Yoga and Buddhist Recovery programs that can guide a
with immediately upon discharge, introducing them to 12 step coach, sober companion, or peer recovery practitioner. All of person through recovery.
programs, addiction treatment specialists, and working through these titles describe a person that is aiding another to remain
triggers or life problems that previously would result in addictive sober. These various job descriptions are featured in my book. What kind of training does a recovery
behavior, the likelihood of that client relapsing would be reduced A sober escort is a recovery coach that meets the client at the
significantly. By significantly, I mean by using a recovery coach door of the treatment center and escorts them home, ensuring
coach need?
there will be a 50% reduction of the likelihood of relapse. Hence, the client remain sober during that transit. A sober companion is Recovery coaching is a very young field. As the Recovery Man-
the field of recovery coaching was born. a recovery coach that stays with the recovering client 24/7 after agement Model is being adopted by state and federal addiction
their discharge, helping the client navigate in the world that often treatment agencies, and treatment centers recovery coaches
Why did you write RECOVERY COACHING: A was the reason that the client went to treatment in the first place. are being hired by these agencies. The stipulation of hiring
Guide to Coaching People in Recovery from A peer recovery support specialist usually works as a volunteer recovery coaches is the coach should have certification. This
in a recovery support center. A recovery support center is a certification is granted after a recovery coach has 500 hours of
Addictions and what were you hoping to community based center that offers a safe place for people in supervised coaching and has taken a coaching training course
accomplish? recovery to congregate. A support center offers workshops like validated by the state licensing or credentialing bureaus. These
anger management, legal expungement, household budgeting, credentialing bureaus are the same bureaus that certify addic-
I thought about writing this book when I began to research my and training for resume writing and job searching, GED classes, tion counselors or clinical social workers. The classes that are
first thesis at the University of Pennsylvania. I found that the only as well as being a location for 12-step meetings. It is the place available are widespread and may not yet be available in all
documents on recovery coaching were white papers, journal the peer support specialist can meet with their client on a daily states. I list the current organizations that offer recovery coach-
articles or manuals that were written by researchers. Only a few or weekly basis and work on the clients recovery plan. There ing training in my book.
papers were really written for or by people that were practicing are many more job descriptions for the recovery coach in the
recovery coaching and I could count these documents on one book. After reading my book, a recovery coach can perform As I mentioned before, trainings should include an overview of
hand. I knew there had to be a book on recovery coaching to many of these tasks with minimal extra training. ethical standards and core competencies of a coach, as well as
help those people that did not have the time to search for these recovery management tools, relapse prevention, co-occurring
documents. I was hoping to offer people new to this field quick What is the difference between a disorders, suicide prevention and other skills like smoking
and easy access to information about recovery coaching. cessation, health and wellness and how to navigate the social
12-step sponsor, or a therapist ,and a
services system.
What kind of questions were you hoping recovery coach?
to answer? A recovery coach is not a sponsor, therapist, doctor, lawyer or Do you need a bachelors degree, a MSW,
My first question that I asked when I first started researching
priest (or rabbi for that matter). Unlike a sponsor, a recovery CADC or other certifications to be qualified
coach receives training in ethics, recovery management tools, to be a recovery coach?
was Where did recovery coaching start? and Who was the first
relapse prevention, co-occurring disorders, suicide prevention
recovery coach? This research brought me to the story of Bob
and other skills like health and wellness and acquiring social No, you do not need a degree at all. As I state in my book, a
Timmins, an ex-con and heroin addict with over two decades
services benefits. A recovery coach, unlike a therapist, works on recovery coach can be an ex-con, recovering heroin addict
of recovery. Bob was truly the first recovery coach. He helped
the present, what can help my client today? while a therapist with his GED. In fact, someone with experience in long term
rock stars like Steven Tyler as well as homeless teenagers
works on the past. A recovery coach does not diagnose or recovery has met the ideal job requirement for becoming a
beat addiction. Timmins was truly a dedicated recovery coach,
prescribe medications, although recovery coaches work side recovery coach.
sometimes receiving significant financial reimbursement for