Our curriculum integrates the art of coaching with principles of Functional Medicine, nutrition, the psychology of eating, mind-body medicine and positive psychology.

Learning centers around case studies and personal exploration. We emphasize practical application of concepts so that you
graduate with the knowledge, skills and confidence to coach effectively. Monthly modules consist of webinars and interviews with Institute for Functional Medicine faculty and certified practitioners, experts in mind-body medicine and positive psychology, and leaders in coaching.

Functional Medicine

Using a science-based, systems-oriented approach, Functional Medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease and engages both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It represents an evolution in the practice of medicine and effectively addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, Functional Medicine considers the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. Functional medicine practitioners pay attention to their patients’ unique stories and consider the interactions amongst the genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease.

Functional medicine coaches listen to their clients’ concerns and help them address key lifestyle factors to create sustainable long term health and wellbeing.

Rather than driven by a “one size fits all” ideology, Functional Medicine practitioners advocate a personalized approach to nutrition 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 their healing properties and emphasize the power of cooking.. In addition, recognizing which foods create toxic or inflammatory effects and helping clients develop a plan to remove them from their diets, constitutes an equally 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

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.  You’ll learn how to teach clients techniques such as abdominal breathing, guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation and meditation to lower the stress reaction and generate a systemic healing response.

Positive psychology addresses the following question: what do we need to thrive?  For the answer, we turn to positive psychology: the scientific study of the strengths and virtues that foster wellbeing and make life worth living.  Founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, this orientation looks at how to nurture what’s best within us.

Positive Psychology

The Art of Coaching

While committed to the importance of evidence-based coaching, we view the actual practice of coaching as an art.  The primary goal of our 12-month program is to provide guidance and support as you discover your unique style of coaching: one that has a solid grounding in the scientific disciplines of Functional Medicine, nutrition, mind-body medicine and positive psychology.

You’ll not only view coaches in action, but develop your skills and confidence by engaging in the coaching process yourself.  Initially you’ll work with a fellow student and halfway through the program, you’ll gain experience through a supervised practicum.


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• Gain inspiration from leaders in functional medicine, positive psychology and coaching
• Learn positive psychology fundamentals and basic coaching skills

• Recognizing character strengths
• Listening to the story and developing a timeline
• Introduction to functional nutrition
• Effects of personality, age and gender on eating habits

• Mindfulness-based strengths training
• The Functional Medicine matrix Digestion basics
• Balancing the micro biome
• Diet and nutrition journal
• Phytonutrients
• Family, peer, cultural influences
• Breathing techniques
• Mindful eating

• 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

• 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
• Dietary plans for hormonal issues
• Emotional eating as a response to hormone fluctuations
• Learning to use HeartMath

• Overuse and underuse of character strengths
• 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

• Shedding toxic thoughts
• Toxins and illness
• Ensuring a safe detox
• Therapeutic foods to support detoxification
• Influences of the food and advertising industries
• Whole body detox: Mental-Emotional-Spiritual

• Using humor, popular culture and the arts
• 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
• Progressive muscle relaxation and autogenic training

• Using character strengths to heal from depression and anxiety
• Acceptance of your dark side
• Mood disorders, inflammation, toxicity and hormone imbalance
• Mood foods: Managing challenging cravings
• Reading food and supplement labels
• Cooking for a healthy mind
• How to stop panic and anxiety

• Using character strengths to help clients who are overweight or underweight
• Metabolic and hormonal aspects of resistant weight loss
• Integrating detox into a healthy weight loss plan
• Food plans for healthy weight loss
• How to run virtual and clinic-based group detox programs
• Psychological aspects of obesity through an in-depth character study
• Guided imagery to enhance healthy weight loss and body acceptance

• Challenging and complicated cases using a positive psychology model
• 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
• Being present to restore hope

• Ethical guidelines and core competencies for certification
• The Business of Coaching