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Do I Need Life Coaching or Therapy?

Life Coaching vs. Therapy: What's the Difference?

We can all use some extra support when handling life's challenges, and one great way to get it is by talking to a professional. But, what type of professional should you choose to help you navigate life's troublesome waters? Here are some of the differences between life coaching and therapy, and a basic guide for when each service is appropriate.

What's the Difference?

Whether classified as counselors or psychologists, therapists are licensed professionals who use proven strategies to help clients understand their moods, thoughts and behaviors. Through therapy, people are able to develop better communication and coping skills that help them overcome lingering emotional and mental challenges, so they can live better lives.

Life coaches, on the other hand, aim to motivate and create confidence in clients, while offering emotional support along the way. During their interactions with a life coach, people often uncover deep emotional and psychological issues that stand in the way of their success. A life coach can help clients work through some of these issues, however, they aren't always enough for people who owe their difficulties to emotional, psychological or physical trauma.

An article appearing in the American Counseling Association likens life coaching and therapy to a pair of step-siblings who share similar characteristics but use different approaches. While therapy works toward making emotional resolutions to past problems to help clients move forward, life coaches strive to create new life paths that help clients achieve their long-term goals.

What's Right for Me?

It's not uncommon for people who suffer from emotional or psychological issues to have difficulty achieving their goals. Depression and low self-esteem can stand in the way of success by sapping physical energy and causing people to stay in their comfort zones. For these people, a life coach may not be enough to help them overcome deep issues that stand in the way of their success.

On the other hand, some people fail to reach their full potential because they lack confidence, accountability and direction. For these people, a life coach can be an invaluable resource that can help them overcome the self-doubt, confusion and distractions that have kept them from reaching their goals.

If you need help handling emotions from stressors or problems related to everyday life or a dramatically life-altering or traumatic event, a therapist is probably right for you. If you need help finding your purpose or creating a plan that puts you on a path toward a specific goal or an overall better life, a coach may be all you need.

With all that said, there's no reason you can't see a therapist and a life coach to help you overcome emotional and mental difficulties as you establish and follow a plan toward success.

Foundations Counseling offers experienced, compassionate life coaches that can help you achieve excellence, clarify your direction and goals, and identify your deepest values, strengths and skills. We also provide experienced therapists who utilize time-tested and proven techniques to help you find your way. Contact our office and start living your best life today.