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Ever since our first cohort of coaches graduated from our AIP Certified Coach Practitioner Training Program, we’ve been watching with pride and excitement as they bring the AIP to the traditional healthcare landscape. Our AIP Certified Coach Spotlight features give you a look at what it means to be an AIP coach, and what you can expect when working with one as part of your healthcare team.
Since graduating from our program in winter 2017, Joy Cutrone has been working hard to improve the autoimmune healing experience for those recently diagnosed. Her new venture, Autoimmune Families, provides resources, peer support, and practical guidance to those with autoimmune disease and their caregivers. As both a disease warrior and the mother of a child with an autoimmune condition, Joy is using her unique knowledge to create a huge impact on the community.
How did you become involved in the healthcare field in the beginning?
I became involved in healthcare through my own health journey, growing up with an upset stomach for more than a decade before gaining an understanding of the possibility of intolerances to food, what gluten is, and the concept of a “total load” on the immune system.
When it came time for me to become pregnant with my first child, I knew I wanted to be clean and clear of the medications that I had been taking to manage my sinus allergies. It was then that I found acupuncture which, together with moving to a cleaner living environment with far fewer stressors, were my firsts steps into my journey of healing, and an appreciation of true health “care.”
What prompted you to use your skill set and training to specifically focus on serving the autoimmune disease population?
It was the health of my second child that prompted me to gain an understanding of the “next level” of how the immune system works, and to learn what autoimmunity is all about. When he presented with an autoimmune disease that rapidly accelerated to advanced, life-threatening flares, I knew that I needed to ramp up the knowledge that I’d gained for my own quality of life to a far deeper understanding and level of effectiveness.
I became my son’s health coach, combining my training as a business coach in my professional career with the skills I’d developed in navigating the conventional and natural medicine systems to get my own needs met. As I learned more about autoimmunity, autoimmune disease, and its impact on families, this became my life’s work.
You recently became an AIP Certified Coach. Were their aspects of the program that you feel were particularly beneficial?
Aspects of the AIP Certified Coach Practitioner Training Program that were particularly beneficial to me included the depth of third-party research to back up the insights shared; the depth of experience of all three of the instructors with the topic they’re teaching; and the deep kindness and sincerity with which fellow coaches Mickey and Angie approach their work.
Autoimmunity can be a painful journey that can include disillusionment and despair; recognizing this piece in a client’s journey, and the “whole person” component of wellness, is an important part of my belief system about how we’ll heal, achieve, and maintain a higher quality of life in the face of serious, chronic disease.
Also, for my online community, I had written a manifesto of sorts, which I call “Rules of the Road,” which is based on my learnings about the importance of an appropriate mindset when setting out on a healing-based journey. Then, when I started the AIP Certification course and found that Mickey and Angie had written a manifesto of their own, I knew I was in the right place. We have similar beliefs.
What kinds of plans do you currently have for your practice? Anything exciting coming up?
My current plans include helping parents of teenagers diagnosed with autoimmune disease to understand that a healing-based approach to autoimmunity can improve not only your son’s or daughter’s quality of life, but your own quality of life as a caregiver – and that of your family as a whole.
Autoimmune disorders are a family disease not just because there’s a genetic component, but because when someone is chronically ill, the whole family can be affected. I’ve built some deep and wide online resources that share the key insights about what a healing-based approach to autoimmunity is all about – what we mean by “diet” and “lifestyle,” and how we can meet you where you are, to help you get to where you want to go – which includes a robust set of tools for getting there.
Next, it’s time to get the word out, to help connect families in need with functional medicine providers, AIP resources, and appropriate support to start turning things around and achieving the quality of life they deserve.
Can you share an autoimmune client success story?
My favorite autoimmune client success story is that of my son’s. He went from being hospitalized repeatedly and told he’d have to take prescription medication every day for the rest of his life – which alternately made him worse, didn’t help, or threatened long-term side effects that were worse than the condition we were treating — to living medication-free through the use of nutritional, supplemental, and lifestyle adjustments that are effective. He’s currently living independently, and moving forward with his life, in good health.
Where can our readers find you or learn about working with you?
Folks can learn more about Autoimmune Families here. I’d love to have you join us in the journey toward a higher quality of life for you and your loved one! I don’t push any one plan or agenda, but strive to help people understand what are the elements of a healing-based approach, and meet you where you are. You can also pick up a free copy of “Rules of the Road.”