People have asked me for a referral from a therapist, and when I asked them what kind of therapy they wanted, obviously they were really looking for a life coach. At other times, I’ve had people ask for coaching, when it’s clear they need a therapist.
There seems to be a lack of general clarification, so I will add my 2 ¢ to the conversation and invite other coaches and therapists to confirm, deny, correct, or disagree with me as needed.
The clear difference for me is that therapy is for healing, while coaching is for empowerment. Just as athletes go to a physiotherapist to heal from an injury and go to a coach to improve their sport, it follows the same dynamic for quality-of-life professions outside of athletics.
To heal from psychological and emotional trauma, people should go to a therapist. If you are suffering from anxiety or crippling depression, or if you are working to overcome child abuse, a therapist will be your best bet.
However, if you want to improve relationships, or find a better career, if you want to make more money or increase your self-confidence, then a coach is who you want to talk to.
Of course, there is also an overlap between these two (hence the Venn diagram above). A good therapist, by helping you to heal from past trauma, depression, etc., will certainly help you to improve your relationships and have more confidence. Similarly, a good coach will identify any past psycho-emotional pain and allow this healing to lead you to your goals.
I know a lot of people who work with both a coach and a therapist (just like professional athletes do). Many of my clients have undergone years of therapy to heal themselves and then come to me for support to build the life they want most.
The good news is that if you’re not sure, working with a coach or therapist will probably help.
Let me know if this helps or if you have any questions.
Lastly, I am a coach of intimacy and relationships. If you want to heal from past trauma, you can meet these needs by working with a therapist. But if you’re looking to improve your relationship and live a “Fuck Yes” life, I invite you to send me an email or message.
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