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Exploring Life Coaching vs Therapy

Author: Jennifer Klesman, LCSW





Recently I spoke with Brandon Baker from New York City on his podcast The Coach’s Circle to discuss my career as a therapist and the effects COVID-19 has had on therapy practice.  We began to look at the differences between the two approaches to helping people. The most upfront difference between therapy and life coaching is that therapy is primarily focused on mental health while life coaching is focused on life goals.  Therapy certainly has therapeutic goals, working on emotional growth and healing while life coaching is looking at ways to find direction and improve how you’re developing with life and career goals.  In both realms, people may seek help in order to figure out what they want to do with their lives.  Life coaches focus externally so they may develop business plans and branding, discover your potential to find direction and aid in the creation of major life and career goals.    Psychotherapy utilizes evidence-based practices to help people with internal emotional problems and relieve mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety, heal from loss or trauma, or discover their identity, as a few examples.  Therapy works more on the self in regards to self-worth, values, sexuality, and the individual in relationships.  Some therapy is skills-based and teaches clients ways to handle their emotions and develop better interpersonal skills.  Just like with a life coach, finding a therapist that is a good fit is critical to progress.  Both professions build rapport with clients which is an important piece for making progress. In both approaches, clients need to be open and honest about their goals and life situations for the processes to be helpful.   So while both therapists and life coaches can help you get “unstuck”, each uses uniquely different approaches for life's challenges. Check out The Coach’s Circle podcast to learn more about life coaching and similar professions. The Coach's Circle Podcast is brought to you by Life Coach Path, an online career resource for anyone looking to enter the field of coaching. From information about the evolution of coaching to choosing the right training program, Life Coach Path is a complete guide to becoming a life coach. Click here to read more. Link to the episode: here


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