Should I see a life coach or a therapist?
Do I want to be a life coach or a therapist?
What is the difference between life coaching and therapy anyway?
This post will answer all of the above questions!
Click below to watch the video or just keep reading!
First I must say that I am a therapist turned life coach, and there is a reason for that. I find the life coaching model fits better with my values and core beliefs. This post is very factual when it comes down to the differences between life coaching and therapy. I do express my opinion about the matter as well, and that will be apparent as you read on.
Also, let me add that I respect the psychology/psychotherapy field. I worked as a psychotherapist for 10 years and taught in a counseling masters program before turning into a full time life coach. I went into the field because I loved psychology, and I found many sacred moments working with my clients. I am so thankful for that experience. This post does not take away from that. I also have many friends who are therapists/psychologist/psychiatrists, and I know there are many good ones out there and good things happening in therapy. This post is not to take away from that either.
But like I said, there are reasons why I left my job as a therapist to be a life coach. The job was no longer fitting to who I had become as a person. This is my truth. It is okay if it is not yours.
I did my life coach training at the World Coach Institute. I highly recommend them if you are looking to become a coach! If you are a therapist turning into a coach, I definitely recommend getting trained specifically as a coach. I wanted to get my training from somewhere where I would not only be with other therapists but with all types of coaches. That is why I choose The World Coach Institute. They are also accredited by the ICF (International Coach Federation).
Most of the information from this blog post is from what I learned through my training at The World Coach Institute as well as from the book, Therapist as Life Coach, by Patrick Williams and Deborah C. Davis.
- Past Verses Future
Therapy is more past oriented and coaching is more future oriented. I can’t say it better that Patrick Williams and Deborah C. Davis in their book, Therapist as Life Coach; “Therapy focuses on the past and generally assumes that the client has a problem that needs solving; coaching focuses on the future and assumes that the client is whole and capable of having a wonderful life.”
- Side note – Here is the thing. We all have issues. We all have anxiety and depression. This is not to downplay mental health issues, but the mental health industry has gotten way out of control with over diagnosing normal human emotions. We also all have had childhood trauma in our own way. Therapy focuses on the problem, and in my opinion, keep the problem going. Coaching focuses on the solution.
2. Fix Verses Create
People tend to go to therapy because that have a problem they want fixed. People go to coaching because they want to create a better life.
3. Professional Verses Collegial Relationship
The therapist is seen as an expert who holds the answers. The relationship is not equal. Therapists are seen as having power over their clients, which is why the dual relationship is inappropriate. (I honestly find this quite disturbing and wonder why this is not questioned more.)
In coaching we assume the client is the expert in his/her own life. The client has the answers within him/herself. We see ourselves on the same level as our client. We help the client to uncover his/her own brilliance.
We are raised in Western Culture to listen to authority figures. We are taught in school to be passive learners. We study and read. We are good at doing what we are told.
This has caused a problem. We look too much to others to solve our problems. We look too much to be told what to do. If we are not told, we are lost. We are not taught that the answers are within. We do not learn to connect with our intuition, with God, with Love. And that is the only time life really works.
We are in the midst of a revolution. We are taking our power back where we once gave it away. We no longer go to doctors and see them as God and their word as fact. While doctors and therapists definitely have their place, we also research and question and take charge of our own health.
When we go to therapists to diagnose us and look to them to solve our problems, we are not learning to solve our own problems. This creates dependency. Hence, the development of the coaching field.
The field of psychology is very subjective. While you can take a blood test or xrays to be diagnosed with a physical illness, the same is not true for mental illness. Research has shown that the same patient will get varying diagnoses by different psychologists. As much as we try to make the mental health field scientific, it just isn’t.
This calls for a spiritual healing.
(As a side, note, there are times when one should look at therapy instead of, or in conjunction with, life coaching. I, obviously, am partial to life coaching. I just am. I am not trying to hide that. But I do believe there are times when therapy is a better fit. To quote Cara Alwell Leyba, “Life Coaching takes your life from functional to fabulous”. If you are not yet functional, it might be time to seek a therapist. This means if you feel like you can’t perform the duties of everyday life due to a mental illness. When you become more functional, for sure seek out a life coach! You can see both together for a double dose of help! Also, if you are having active suicidal thoughts, it is time to seek out a therapist, or call 911 or go to the emergency room if you are in immediate danger. Don’t forget, therapy and life coaching can be wonderful compliments to each other!)
There is a reason why life coaches exist right now.
They are not something obscure to be scoffed at anymore.
Things are changing.
Energy is shifting.
Standards of life are getting higher.
This is an amazing thing.
We are evolving.
We are not here anymore to just survive the day. We are meant to be happy and free. We are meant to find meaning and connection. We are here on purpose for a purpose. Have you found yours?
We are not meant to get to the end of our lives and say, I survived it! We are meant to get to the end and say, I did it! Whatever that is for you, I hope you do it.
The life coach relationship is sacred (to quote my coach, Jamie Joslin Kin). It is not only about what happens in our phone sessions. It is the energy exchanged constantly between us. I hold my clients up to their highest possibility not only during our calls but spiritually at all times.
My job as a coach is to help you question your reality, to expand it, and to create the life you want.
That is why life coaches exist now. Because life is getting better and better, and we are looking for more ways to tap into our greatness.
How cool is that?
Peace, Love, And Abundance,
Your Fab Life Coach,
Williams, Patrick and Deborah C. Davis. 2007. Therapist as Life Coach An Introduction for Counselors and Other Helping Professionals. New York, W.W. Norton & Company