** Disclaimer** As you read this article, please note that I am not a therapist. I do not hold any certification in mental health or psychology. I do not have any medical training. My training is from Duke IM for Coaching. The article below is based on my opinion. Please exercise self-care and self-responsibility. Thank you. In love~
Therapy vs. Coaching – How do you know which is the right one for you?
In life coaching, this is not an uncommon question to come up.
That’s because therapy is traditional. And no matter how wrong Freud was 🙂 there is still very much a societal conditioning that therapy will “cure what ails us” by doing our due diligence with self-care for mental health and well-being.
I’m actually a fan of therapy. I’ve been to a therapist off and on for large chunks of my life starting at age 19…. although, if I’m honest… I desperately desired to go to therapy when I was a child.
Therapists have specialized training in mental conditions… depression, anxiety, OCD (obsessive-compulsive behavior), narcissistic tendencies, body dysmorphia, and so on and so forth. They also have specialized skills such as cognitive behavioral therapy, for example.
I believe there are times in our lives when therapy may be the absolute best course of action. For me, I desperately needed to heal from my past, and therapy helped me to do that. I also took medication for depression at that time.
Where it gets tricky is when you want life change – something in life is not going well – and you think… a therapist could help me talk this through. And that’s the thing. That is typically what therapists do. They listen while you talk. Sometimes they recommend.
But it is also possible to begin spinning wheels and going over the same stuff, different day with no real action or change. This is of course, my opinion.
A family member told me after months of therapy that she quit going because all that would ever happen is that she would go there and cry.
Woody Allen famously joked (in his film, Annie Hall) that he has been seeing a therapist for 30 years and was just about at a breakthrough.
Therapy is notorious for healing the past by talking about it from every angle, identifying ‘what is wrong’ (as in, you have clinical depression, or you have social anxiety, or you have fear of intimacy, etc.) and then talking about it some more. And because therapists are in the established medical community, they will continue to be a mainstay, much as doctors are, continuing to receive referrals and doing their work no matter the outcomes 6 months into the sessions or 2 years into the sessions. (Coaches on the other hand would lose clients if there were no results from 6 months or 2 years of coaching.)
Again, as I said, I benefited from therapy many times. And it may very well be that this is the approach that will best serve you.
My most recent stint with therapy is when anxiety surfaced and I had panic attacks. I received help and medication and, because I loved my therapist so much (a heart-centered professional trained in mindfulness), I still see her 2-3 times a year.
How is Life Coaching different?
With a coach, the focus shifts entirely. Instead of replaying the past and analyzing it, or engaging in talk therapy, or engaging in naming a ‘disorder,’ coaches focus on gaining insights on patterns of thought, goal-creation, goal-setting, accountability, aligning values, cultivating self-love, acceptance, growth and making a plan.
Coaching also assumes self-responsibility and a large degree of self-awareness.
Individuals who are in the game (consciously or sub-consciously) of blaming others, feeling like a victim to circumstance, and who do not yet recognize their own power are most likely better candidates for therapy. Coaching really requires that you be truly accountable for yourself, for your own action, for you own thoughts and life circumstance. Coaches can support you in this process and they hold the vision for you that you dream of having for yourself.
Currently, my mind is filled with visions of (future) millionaire clients, business owners, passionate travelers and so forth…
Coaching is also designed for individuals who are truly “functional” and who can show up fully and authentically to sessions.
I had a friend once who would go to therapy and lie. I’m not sure what the point was, but eventually she stopped going.
When I was 20, I would have been a terrible candidate for coaching. I was a helpless, confused, depressed mess. Truthfully, I would have probably missed half of my coaching sessions. And that simply will not do.
Coaching requires a different kind of commitment. I hire coaches now because I am fully in the game of life. I fully own my responsibility in creating my life, and I know that there are steps I need to take to improve my life, my health, my business.
I hire coaches because I need the clarity, the focus, the deep-listening, the critical insights, the vision building that will help me break through to my next level of best self.
But here’s the thing you may be surprised to hear. Coaching (unbiased coaching) can actually help you decide which is better for you to do right now.
The truth is, I have no stake in whether or not you sign up for coaching with me. That is because I’ve learned the beautiful law of detachment from outcomes. I set my intention to serve others through my gift. I serve. My abundance does not have to come through you/through my clients – it comes from God. So, I can speak with you authentically about whether coaching or therapy is best for you, because I have no reason to sway you one way or the other. I can simply listen deeply and ask questions that will elicit the right answer for you at this moment in time. I would never, ever steer you away from therapy if that is what was right for you.
I do believe I’m one of the few coaches who questions your “Yes!” when you say you want to work with me. (Thank you Rich Litvin) That’s because of the integrity I want to have in my relationships, and because I want you to be absolutely sure and comfortable.
Have you wondered if therapy or coaching is a better fit? I was on the phone with someone today in fact, who was wondering this as well. Let’s figure it out together. There’s no charge for this call, but it could be one of the most important calls of your life. Schedule it here: www.TheTruthAboutLiving.com/private-coaching