LIFE COACHING vs. THERAPY FOR MY TEEN/YOUNG ADULT?

A THERAPIST FOCUSES ON WAYS TO:

  • Recover from past traumas

  • Explore why past relationships and how they might have been destructive

  • Work through depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders that affect your ability to function at home or school

  • Survive a divorce or loss of a loved one

LIFE COACHING PROVIDES: 

  • More creative opportunities to reach teens that having trouble opening up, talking about their feelings, or resistant to the traditional therapy model.

  • Clarifying and achieving personal goals of relationships, academics, sobriety, independence, and better coping skills.

  • Working to improve internal thought patterns and communication skills with others.

  • Achieving personal discipline, balance, mood regulation, and better coping skills.

  • New solutions for the future and moving forward.

Naturally, the decision to seek out a therapist or a life coach is a very personal one. It might help to imagine yourself getting ready to climb a mountain. You could either hire an expert sherpa and guide for your expedition or a doctor. Which should you choose? Which one will be most helpful during your specific journey?

If you are physically unwell, or would be in danger if you even attempted the climb, a sherpa and guide wouldn’t do you any good. You need to be at a baseline level of good health before you can make the climb at all, so if you’re not, you might need to see the doctor before trying something that challenging. However, if you’re healthy and just need someone to help you with climbing strategy, carrying the load of supplies and finding the best path, the sherpa and guide is the best bet.

In this example, the therapist is the doctor. He or she gets you well enough to take on major challenges in your life by exploring your mental and emotional well-being. The life coach is the sherpa and guide. He or she has an expert knowledge of your climb and can help you reach the summit.

The fundamentals of life coaching are what distinguishes it from therapy. Life coaches do not diagnose the people they work with, while therapists determine illnesses and pathologies so their patients can be clinically treated. Therapists analyze their client’s past as a tool for understanding present behaviors, whereas life coaches simply identify and describe current problematic behaviors so the client can work to modify them. In other words, therapists focus on “why” certain behavioral patterns occur, and coaches work on “how” to work toward a goal.

When you look at a life coach vs. a therapist’s practice, it’s important to recognize that therapists help clients explore and understand their subconscious and unconscious mind. Their goal in this exploration is a deep understanding of behaviors and patterns. Life coaches focus on an individual’s actions and results. Life coaches measure their client’s success with key performance indicators and specific behavioral outcomes and goals.

Therapy and life coaching do share certain traits and aims. However, whether you choose to work with a life coach or therapist, both work to enable clients to make positive changes in their lives and become more productive. While therapists diagnose and treat from a healthcare perspective, not all therapy clients are ill; many healthy people seek the services of both therapists and life coaches. Therapists may at times work with specific results in mind, such as the cessation of a particular problematic behavior.

Despite occasional areas of overlap, the work and processes of therapists and life coaches are distinct.