Health and Wellness Coach Barbara babcock

Hello, I’m Barbara.

As a Health & Wellness Coach, facilitator and adult learning specialist, my passion is supporting people to manage effectively the emotional impact of a challenging 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 below to learn more.

The nature of talking about your underlying feelings or writing them down in the safe environment of health coaching was incredibly powerful. I became more attuned to acknowledging anger and anxiety and importantly, how to manage it and take control.

Wendy in Yorkshire; has Transverse Myelitis

Barbara used a process called systemic constellations to help me understand a very powerful and emotional dream I had. She is clear and gets to the point and this helped me grasp and illuminate the meaning of the dream. I felt very supported.

Woman in her 40's seeking support on interpreting a dream

About me and Return to Wellness®

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 "challenging health issue"?

Many people I work with have experienced the onset of challenging 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 find ways to cope well with it and move forward in your life in the way you wish to. 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
  • Parkinson’s
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Transverse Myelitis (TM)
  • Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO)
  • Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)
  • Diabetes
  • Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.) / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
  • Lupus
  • Heart disease including heart attacks in younger men
  • Angina
  • Arthritis
  • Benign conditions such as dizziness
  • Back pain

I have also supported family members who have had to take on the carer role.

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 live in southwest London, and spend my free time kayaking on the River Thames, walking and exercising. I love the creativity of cooking, enjoy design and skyping with my family in the USA, where I am originally from. From my home office I connect with clients from all over the world via Skype/Facetime or phone, and I also work with clients face-to-face from my home office.

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 (or more) 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. Growing up, my father had a number of health issues the most serious being diverticulitis which resulted in him having a colostomy for the the rest of his life.

In addition to my own experience of the impact my illness had on my family, 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 have also trained in Family Constellations (also known as Systemic Constellations), which is a powerful approach to find a way to deal with family issues. You can read more about the services I offer in this area here.

So I’m well placed to support you to find healing in the space where family relationships and health issues collide whether you have the health issue or a family member does.

What qualifications do you have to do your work?

I have always enjoyed learning and it’s important to me that I study subjects where I’m actually going to use the learning day-to-day in my work and life. In addition to an M.A. in Psychological Coaching (more commonly known as Coaching Psychology), other relevant qualifications and credentials I have are:

In September 2020, I’ll start studying Systemic & Family Therapy at King’s College London.

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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