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Therapist Or Life Coach

Therapy or Coaching: Which is Right for You?

You’re going through some stuff – maybe you’re feeling down about your current overall life situation, maybe you’re unhappy in a relationship, maybe you’re overwhelmed by the daily demands of balancing personal and professional life. These are probably things we can all relate to from time to time. We may find ourselves asking: should I get some help?

Getting help is a great idea, but choosing through which doorway to access that help can be intimidating.

The field of health and wellness has been exploding. There are countless health and wellness professionals to choose from. As a therapist who separately offers coaching, I consider myself one of those countless professionals.
Whenever someone reaches out to me for a free consultation, it’s my responsibility to help identify what that person needs at the time, explain the difference between therapy and coaching, and provide my assessment of what seems most appropriate. Keep in mind that there are various types of therapists and coaches. However, I created a general Therapy or Coaching Checklist to assist you in making such a choice:

Therapy or Coaching? The Checklist:

When to See a Therapist


You are…

  • Seeking mental health treatment and support
  • Struggling with depression and/or anxiety and wish to develop coping skills
  • Seeking recovery from a past or recent traumatic experience
  • Engaging in self-destructive behavior patterns and wish to gain insight about these patterns
  • Experiencing emotional distress in a relationship or at work
  • Having thoughts of hurting yourself or others
  • You are suffering the loss of a loved one

When to See a Coach


You are…

  • Seeking to identify, clarify or refine personal and/or professional goals
  • Hoping to improve communication skills with loved ones and/or colleagues
  • Seeking better work/life balance
  • Feeling stuck and want to move forward in your personal and/or professional development
  • Hungry for change and willing to step out of your comfort zone
  • Ready to focus on results, take action, and be held accountable
  • You have appropriate emotional supports in place

Further Differences

Ultimately, both therapy and coaching support increased awareness and personal growth, drawing from existing strengths and resources. Reflecting on your most pressing needs and the type of relationship you prefer will help in determining which option may serve you best.  When considering a commitment to either therapy or coaching, don’t hesitate to take advantage of a free consultation. Use the opportunity to ask questions and get a sense of the interpersonal fit between you and the therapist or coach.

It’s important to point out that if it is determined that therapy is needed, coaching cannot serve as a substitute for therapy. Additionally, since therapy addresses mental health issues, health insurances cover or reimburse for therapy. Coaching, though considered a wellness and development tool, is not covered or reimbursable by any insurance.

Therapy and Coaching?

You may be wondering: what if I’m interested in seeing both a therapist AND a coach? Don’t worry – it’s not uncommon for someone to work with a therapist and a coach simultaneously. Depending on who you may start seeing first, that professional can help in the referral process.
Note: A licensed therapist who is also a coach cannot serve as both to the same client, and a coach (certified or not) cannot provide therapy.

A Compass for Your Journey

Traveling through the maze of choosing therapy or coaching doesn’t have to be another cause for stress or leave you stuck yet again. The most important thing is being open to exploring the different pathways to help and giving one of them a try. Both therapy and coaching offer a dynamic platform to exercise one’s opportunity for a healthier, more satisfying existence. Numerous benefits can be realized from either practice and both are well worth the effort. Remember to consider the Therapy or Coaching Checklist as your compass in getting you started on the most appropriate path.

For More Insider Info on Getting Help…

Your Therapist is Human Too

What Your Therapist Wishes You Knew About Therapy

Find the Pro who can help you best by checking out our extensive Directory of Health & Wellness Professionals

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