Coaching and therapy

The Similarities and Differences Between Therapy and Life Coaching

There are many reasons why one would seek the help of a therapist or life coach. Both of these professionals help their clients get past difficult times in a healthy, progressive way. However, while there are similarities between therapists and life coaches, there are also a broad range of differences.

Similarities Shared by Life Coaches and Therapists:

There are many similarities between visiting a therapist and enlisting the help of a life coach. Coaches and therapists both work with their clients to better their lives, while building their self esteem. Their goals are to help clients maintain healthy relationships, learn to effectively communicate, and to understand and improve their negative behaviors.

Coaches and therapists accomplish their goals by carefully listening to their patients and working together to make better choices. This helps patients feel secure, understood, and gives them the support that they may be lacking in other areas of their lives.

The Main Differences Between Psychotherapy and Life Coaching:

While life coaches and therapists have many of the same goals, they differ in their approach to meet their goals. Therapy is about understanding a patient’s thoughts and feelings, and then working towards improving the patient’s feelings, actions, and self esteem. Therapists accomplish this by looking into a patient’s past and determining what events or situations may have affected a patient’s current mental state. A therapist will also help diagnose different disorders and suggest medications to help improve a patient’s mental health. While therapists cannot prescribe medication, they may work with a doctor or psychiatrist to get a patient on a helpful medication.

A life coach will be less likely to delve into a client’s past and more likely to focus on the present and future. Coaching is about growth, self improvement, and action. Unlike therapists, coaches do not take an authoritative role and treat their clients as clients. Instead, coaches take the role of a trusted mentor and assist clients in modifying negative behaviors and reaching their goals. While, life coaching is great for people who need a voice of reason and a listening ear, they will need to be ready to to make changes and work toward their goals.

Therapy and life coaches are great resources for those who would benefit from additional support and guidance. However, while both of these professions are honorable and extremely helpful, they do have significant differences that should be considered by potential clients.


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