Health and Wellness Coach Barbara babcock

Hello. I’m Barbara Babcock.

As a Health & Wellness Coach, facilitator, researcher and adult learning specialist, my passion is supporting people to manage effectively the emotional impact of a serious health issue, rediscover their purpose and move on with their lives in the way they wish to.

If that’s a situation you or a loved one is in right now, I’d love to see how I can help.

Working with me means we’ll build a relationship that enables the change you want to occur – so it’s important we get to know and trust each other. To help you learn more about me and my work, I’ve shared answers to some things you may be curious about below. Click on the questions to expand them and learn more.

What's Return to Wellness?
I founded Return to Wellness to help individuals and their families navigate the changes resulting from the onset of a long-term medical condition or serious illness/injury with more ease.
What do you mean by a "serious health issue"?
Many people I work with have experienced the onset of serious health issue suddenly, which has been life-changing for them in some way. Other clients are dealing with health challenges that might at first appear “minor” but actually have a significant impact on their day to day life. Or the health issue may be serious and temporary. Or benign. I don’t have a set of strict criteria about who I help – if a health issue is having an impact on your life, then I’d love to support you to move forward. I’m always happy to have a chat about what you’re going through to find out if I’m the best fit for you.
Do you have expertise in specific health conditions?

I’ve worked with people who have had cancer; neurological inflammatory conditions like Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and rarer ones such as Transverse Myelitis (TM), Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO) and Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM); heart disease including heart attacks in younger men; angina; diabetes; spinal cord injury; lupus; Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.); and benign conditions such as dizziness. And I have supported family members who have had to take on the carer role. However, as a coach, my role is not to give clients medical related advice on how to treat their condition or symptoms of it. I’m not a doctor or nurse so not qualified to do that. So having expertise in specific health conditions is not needed. However, I do read about your or your loved one’s condition so I have an understanding of the issues you face on a daily basis.

Where are you based?

I‘m originally from the USA but have been living in the UK for 18 years now, which practically makes me a native. I live in South West London, and spend my free time kayaking on the River Thames, walking and practicing yoga. I love the creativity of cooking, enjoy design and skyping with my family in the USA. I also love handbags! From my home office I connect with clients from all over the world.

Why this kind of work?
I know what it’s like to feel your beliefs about yourself, your abilities, and your plans for the future have been turned upside down. An unexpected illness or injury can change life irrevocably. Big questions suddenly loom over you, and the biggest one of all is: How do I rebuild my life? What is my life going to be like? Is this it? Anxiety and feeling out of control can often accompany these questions, and it can feel isolating. It’s often hard to know where to turn to get the support you need. I don’t want you to feel that way. Life might look very different, but it’s possible to reclaim your identity and find purpose once more. I help you figure out how, and give you the tools to sustain your sense of independence and resilience long term.
How did you get into this work?
I had Transverse Myelitis (TM) in 2008, a rare neurological auto-immune condition affecting the spinal cord. The recovery process is one where you have to wait and see what kind of functionality you regain and how long that takes. It was a period of a lot of uncertainty and anxiety. So I joined the Transverse Myelitis Society, becoming a trustee in 2010, then its Chair from 2013 to 2016. tm-society-logo_landscape_blue I soon discovered helping members find a way to design a ‘new normality’ and live in partnership with their condition was an incredibly rewarding way to use my existing skills and experience. It felt like something I was being called to do.
What did you do before Return to Wellness?
I worked in Human Resources, specifically Learning & Development,  in the corporate world for many years. My role focused on people’s professional and personal development and their motivations for learning and changing. If you want to see the detail, have a look at my LinkedIn profile.
So you could help me figure out career issues?
Yes! I have plenty of experience helping people figure out what work is meaningful for them to do and how to reduce the impact of stress. Work is a huge part of our lives and I love helping people achieve wellbeing and balance in relation to their career.
Can you help me with family issues too?
It’s very common for issues to come up within families when one person has a health issue. Everyone is affected and there isn’t always support to help them get through it. I conducted research in this area during my Master’s degree in coaching psychology: read more about how coaching helped the families I worked with here. I also have personal experience of this. My other half had an unexpected medical crisis and for a time, I became his carer. Juggling the role of spouse and carer wasn’t always easy. We’ve since adapted to the changes and now it’s about ongoing mutual support. I am also training in Systemic Constellations, which is a useful lens to look through with what can feel like very difficult family issues. So I’m well placed to support you to deal with family dynamics whether you have the health issue yourself or a family member does.
What qualifications do you have to do your work?

I love learning – and it’s important to me that I study subjects where I’m actually going to use and enhance skills I already have or am learning. So in addition to an M.A. in Coaching Psychology, I have:

  • Associate Certified Coach credential with the International Coach Federation
  • Certificate in Professional Coaching Skills (ICF accredited), Coaching Development Ltd.
  • Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) – Associate
  • CIPD’s Certificate in Training Practice
  • Myers Briggs Type Indicator Step 1
  • Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner
  • M.A. Russian Area Studies
  • B.A. International Business & Languages (Russian & French)
  • Acceptance Commitment Therapy – Completed 8 day programme with Mindfullness Training Ltd.
  • Systemic Constellations – Completed the foundation course and currently completing the applied course with the Centre for Systemic Constellations
How can I stay in touch?
Click here to join my mailing list for free support direct to your inbox every two weeks where I share tips and ideas for dealing with the many situations you’re likely to encounter. And if you’d like to have a chat about working together, complete the form below and I’ll respond to schedule a time we can speak.

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Take part in research

Have you experienced the onset of a serious health issue and talk about acceptance in relation to it? If you are happy to share your experience, I’m researching what acceptance means to people like you.

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