Integrating Wellness into Physical Therapy


Are you a physical therapist or PT assistant who’s curious about integrating health & wellness coaching into your practice or perhaps starting a side business? With the recent articles about wellness that ran in our national PT in Motion magazine, we’re receiving a lot of questions. We’re always happy to connect with you individually, but we thought it would be helpful to put together a brief video to highlight some of the opportunities, considerations and key steps for physical therapists and PT assistants who are curious about some of the latest developments.

Hello to my PT friends and peers. I’m Dr. Bradford Cooper of the Catalyst Coaching Institute. Like you, I’m a physical therapist. I graduated from Washington University School of Medicine back in ’91 and ended up writing over 150 columns for the American Physical Therapy Association on career development, health and wellness over the past 20 years. Along the way, you’ve pointed to 2 primary questions around this topic… 1 -Why integrate health & wellness into my practice or career? 2 – How do I get started? Let’s touch on each of these and then I’ll reference some additional tools/resources that might be helpful if you want to go deeper.

Why integrate health & wellness? There are a multitude of reasons, but they typically come down to the 3 Ps: Patients, Passion and Profit.

First, as always, is a focus on our patients. Integrating health & wellness coaching into your practice will improve your outcomes. You’re looking for practical ways to expand your toolbox to allow you increase patient engagement, follow-through and lasting impact. Earning your wellness coach certification provides a way in which to achieve that goal via an established process.

2nd is passion – we love health & wellness ourselves. We’ve seen benefits in our own life or those around us and we know that if we could integrate that into our career, it would add even more enjoyment to an already positive career path. On the other hand, some of us have lost our passion for our current role, and we have a sense this could provide a spark.

3rd is profit. For some, the differentiation of adding a wellness coach certification to your credentials may lead to increased referrals or an opportunity to introduce a cash-pay model to your practice. For others, it might provide an option for a side business or a transition into retirement from direct patient care. And – unlike most product lines that involve significant capital expenditures, this one doesn’t.

That covers the WHY piece. The 2nd most common question from PTs and PTAs involves how to get started. Both PTs and PTAs are eligible to pursue this certification. And for this element, you’ll want to look into the coaching certification that fits you best and whether you want to pursue board certification through the NBHWC. We recently put together a brief video here on the YouTube Coaching Channel that gets into all of those details so I won’t repeat that here. We’ll link to it below to make it easy to find.

You are not required to pursue the national board certification, but if you’re thinking about making this a significant part of your career, it’s definitely worth examining those details. Also – you may be able to earn CEUs that apply toward your licensure requirements, so check into that. The Catalyst Coaching Institute has been fortunate to be the only NBHWC-approved coaching certification program to be accredited by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. That one covers most states here in the US, so that might be helpful to many of you as well.

I hope this provided you with a running start on this topic. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us – if you’d like to talk about your specific situation. We’re happy to set up some time to talk it through. We also have a special report we developed for PTs and PTAs since we had so many pursuing the certification. You can access that at and we’ll also link below to an episode of the Catalyst Health, Wellness & Performance podcast that featured an interview with 2 PTs, discussing how they were using their coaching certification in their careers.

Thanks for joining us here on the Coaching Channel. If you enjoy these types of resources, please subscribe down below. And if there are any specific topics you’d like us to cover in the future, please feel free to note those in the comments section. This is Dr. Bradford Cooper signing out. Thanks everyone.

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