Do I Need Life Coaching or Therapy?
Do I Need Life Coaching or Therapy? ~ More and more people are becoming open to the idea of getting help with dealing with a number of dysfunctional issues in their life. For some, it is simple as hiring a life coach, and for the others, the issues are deep enough to require professional therapy from a qualified psychotherapist. Because life coaches and therapists share the same general group field name, “help-professional,” it can be confusing for some people to determine whether hiring a life coach will be sufficient or if they will need to work with a professional therapist.
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I offer the entire spectrum, functioning as a coach in my 1-On-1 Life Enhancement Coaching program and my Elevation and Empowerment course and I also offer psychotherapy and cognitive therapy engagement sessions. The Elevation and Empowerment course is more intense than the 1-On-1 Life Enhancement Coaching sessions, and it is meant to function as the bridge between coaching and behavioral therapy or counseling. The idea is to determine what is necessary for my clients during the first interview, and then develop a specific and unique plan that will help them address their dysfunction.
It is much easier for a person to acknowledge that they need a life coach than it is to admit that they may be in need of therapy. The truth is that while life coaching and clinical therapy share an ecumenical family name in the term “help professional,” the truth is that these two professions are more like step-siblings. Some psychologists have little respect for the field of life coaching, primarily due to the minimal requirements and training required to become a life coach, zero. While most life coaches have undergone some type of intense training course to become a coach, it is not a requirement, because the profession is not government regulated on any level.
As far as my personal assessment, I must say, in no ambiguous terms, that life coaching cannot accomplish what proven therapy techniques and modalities are capable of accomplishing, and it was never meant to. Therapy, by its very definition, deals with an illness or condition, while coaching deals with motivation, choices and behavioral adjustments. Life coaches can also be distrusting of clinical therapist, believing that we tend to over analyze and complicate matters.
The good news is that many therapists and life coaches are coming to a point where they believe that they can coexist, and even thrive, as long as there is a mutual respect between them. Because of the sometimes nebulous nature of the behavioral sciences, it can sometimes be difficult to determine where coaching ends and therapy begins, and this is still a very sensitive topic among the two professions.
So, how does a person determine if they need a coach or a therapist? Unfortunately, it is not something that is cut and dry, and there is no protocol. What I have found with my clients is that it may take a couple of sessions before I realize that a coaching client may need counseling or a counseling client may be better suited for coaching sessions. However, as a general rule, I will know after the initial consultation if there is a question or not, and when there is a question, I will not accept a client into my 1-On-1 Life Enhancement Coaching program, because it is too light to be of any real assistance in addressing the issues that must be addressed.
During the initial consultation, I am evaluating the situation to determine if there is a history of untreated trauma. I am also looking for other dysfunctional mental processes, such as the presence of cognitive biases and cognitive distortions that are present at a level that creates dysfunction. Are they simply afraid to come out of their comfort zone, or is their fear associated with a real or perceived life experience that has paralyzed their social mobility — limiting their ability to actualize their potential?
Sometimes people are simply being hindered by erroneous beliefs that minimize their own self-worth, subsequently reducing their expectations for themselves. Having emaciated expectations is highly indicative of some sort of issue with a person’s self-concept or self-image. It will depend on the origin and depth of these types of conditions when it comes to determining which would be best, counseling or coaching.
This is what I do know. Out of the thousands of people I have personally engaged, professionally, personally and casually, I have yet to meet a person who did not have gifted potential. So, when a person is not actualizing their potential, it is important to identify why. I don’t believe in consequences and superficial anecdotes. Every action is inextricably connected to its cause and attempting to address it without identifying causality will only result in frustration. While behavioral adjustments can be taught, they do not have the capacity to address the mental issues associated with what produced the erroneous behavior in the first place, subsequently leading to inexplicable relapsed behavior patterns.
What is Coaching?
I see coaching as a partnering or mentoring dynamic in which a coach will identify the potential in an individual, while working with them to unleash that potential. Coaching techniques are creative and provoking, inspiring the individual to ignite their potential. While coaching may allow the coach to identify more serious cognitive issues, it is not the most effective medium through which to deal with these issues.
An effectively trained coach will be trained to listen and observe to detect the strengths and weaknesses of their client, so that they can develop a highly specific program to accentuate the strengths while developing and strengthening areas of weakness. This is a performance-based relationship, designed to help the person maximize their potential.
What is Therapy?
Therapy is more of a relationship between the healer and the wounded. Much in the same way as the coach, the therapist has been trained to observe and listen, but they have also been educated in order to understand the mental and cognitive processes associated with human behavior. They are trained to recognize the presence of untreated trauma and mental disorders, and they are properly trained in the multitudinous techniques that can be used to treat the condition.
When it comes to determining whether coaching or counseling is best for you, it is best to meet with a professional to be evaluated. This is for certain. If you are dealing with unaddressed trauma, the presence of cognitive biases and cognitive distortions, as well as any other mental disorder or emotional condition, you should seek professional counseling, because any attempts to change behavior without addressing the thought processes the caused it will only lead to frustration.
If you are looking to actualize your potential, while learning how to live life at the level of your design and potential, I would love to work with you through either my 1-On-1 Life Enhancement Coaching or my Elevation and Empowerment course. If you are struggling with deeper issues that need to be addressed, and you are looking to heal, you can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, you are valuable, and as long as you are breathing, your life still has purpose. Don’t live another day separated from your purpose and potential. ~ Dr. Rick Wallace, Ph.D.