The Wellness Coaching role was developed as a workforce innovation to help support people with mental and substance use disorders with risk factors and medical conditions that impact their recovery.

The wellness coaching training curriculum was developed through a collaboration between staff at Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey and faculty in Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions, Rutgers-SHRP.


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What Does a Wellness Coach Do?

  • A wellness coach helps a person to identify strengths in the 8 dimensions of wellness (spiritual, occupational intellectual, social, physical, environment, financial, mental/emotional), and then helps them clarify what they hope to change or improve.
  • A wellness coach applies principles and processes of health promotion and coaching to the goal of lifestyle improvement for higher levels of wellness.
  • There is a specific focus on the relevant physical health factors previously identified as problematic including:
    • low levels of physical activity/sedentary lifestyle,
    • the use of tobacco and other addictive substances,
    • the lack of nutrition and dietary education,
    • diet and glucose monitoring for diabetes prevention and management,
    • oral hygiene/dental health practices, and
    • use of medications which contribute to metabolic syndrome, obesity, and other health conditions
  • Wellness coaching emphasizes collaboration; the coach helps to guide the person toward successful and long lasting behavioral change.
  • Wellness coaches provide ongoing individualized support and reinforcement. In this context, a coach is a person who supports peers in achieving their goals with encouragement and questions.

Role of a Wellness Coach

  • Focus on personal health and wellness strengths and needs.
  • Brainstorm ideas about wellness goals and things they can do to achieve their goals.
  • Help the person to find his or her own solutions for the health problem(s) and concerns that they may face.
  • Ask questions that help them better understand their personal situation.
  • Help find the motivation they need to complete the plan in order to achieve their wellness goals.
  • Assist in identifying steps to take to achieve a health and wellness related goal.
  • Assist in strengthening their motivation to actively pursue health and wellness.
  • Use a variety of methods, tailored to the individual, to move through the process of setting and reaching health and wellness related goals.
  • Provide structure and support to promote personal progress and accountability.
  • Compile and share wellness and healthy lifestyle resources.
  • Selectively use self-disclosure to inspire and support.

Related Resources

  • Swarbrick, M., & Fitzgerald, C. (2012). The Millions Hearts Initiative: Why psychosocial nurses should care, Journal of Psychosocial Nursing, 10-11.
  • Swarbrick, M., D’Antonio, D., & Nemec, P. (2011). Promoting staff wellness. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal (34) 334-36.
  • Swarbrick, M., & Moosvi, K (2010). Wellness: A practice for our lives and work. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing, 48 (7), 2-3.
  • Swarbrick, M., Hutchinson, D., & Gill, K. (Summer 2008). The quest for optimal health: Can education and training cure what ails us? International Journal of Mental Health, 37 (2), 69-88.
  • Swarbrick, M. (2006). A wellness approach. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 29, (4) 311- 314.
  • Swarbrick, M., & Burkhardt, A. (2000, June). The spiritual domain of health. Mental Health Special Interest Section Quarterly, 23, 1-3.
  • Swarbrick, M. (March 1997). A wellness model for clients. Mental Health Special Interest Section Quarterly, 20, 1-4.
  • Swarbrick, M., Spagnolo, A., Zechner, M., Murphy, A., & Gill, K. (2011). Wellness Coaching: A new role for peers. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal (34), 328-31
  • Words of Wellness
  • www.welltacc.org


Wellness coaches can use a variety of resources to assist others to explore set and achieve wellness goals. Below are some wellness resources you may want to share. Feel free to print and share.

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