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Woman sits with journal contemplating therapy and coaching

The Difference Between Therapy and Coaching

If you're like many people, you may think that life coaching is actually psychological therapy. However, life coaching is not the same as therapy. In fact, it is actually a unique service intended to help people overcome their personal challenges so that they feel fulfilled and successful. Would you like to learn more about coaching and therapy and how they're different? Here's what you need to know about coaching and therapy and how they differ, along with our services.

What is Psychological Coaching and When is it Used?

Even though psychological coaching is similar to positive counseling, it doesn't deal with the pathological or negative features of everyday life. Instead, it focuses more on a client's specific abilities and strong points that they can learn to utilize in innovative ways.  As a result, they can feel better about themselves and improve their performance.

There are various types of life coaches who work with a wide range of organizations and businesses. Besides being used in private counseling sessions, life coaches are common in business organizations and schools. They're also used in performance venues. Health coaches provide services at worksite wellness programs, such as providing employees with group weight control counseling. There are also online coaches.

What is Therapy?

Also known as psychotherapy or counseling, therapy involves a healthcare professional working with a client on a long-term basis.  Therapists diagnose and then resolve a client's behaviors, feelings, and problematic beliefs.

The basic concept behind therapy is examining the particular past life issues and traumatic experiences of clients so that their self-destructive actions can be changed, and their relationships can improve by working through painful emotions and feelings. Hence, it is more introspective and analytical, dealing more with a person's past in an effort to give them more stability and a sense of better mental well-being.

Coaching Focuses on the Future

Unlike therapy, coaching deals more with the "here and now", besides focusing on the future. After helping their clients recognize their obstacles, they then devise a plan of action. Rather than being healthcare or medical professionals that render mental healthcare service, coaches focus more on showing their clients ways to achieve their goals. In other words, they're more active and goal-minded.

Differences in the Structure of the Sessions

Another basic difference between coaching and therapy is how the sessions are structured. While therapy sessions depend on a client's needs, along with the particular therapy that a therapist uses, coaching sessions are more concerned with moving forward and setting goals. Also, life coaching sessions involve asking specific questions designed to make clients discover more about themselves, while therapy sessions entail asking questions that are more open-ended.

Goal Differences

A huge way that therapy differs from coaching is in their goals. The goal of a therapist is to help their clients understand and explore both their subconscious and unconscious minds. Its goal is to understand better how their behavioral patterns affect mental health. Therefore, therapy and counseling are extremely useful for treating anxiety and depression.

But the goal of a life coach is to help clients become "unstuck", being more concerned with action and getting positive results. A life coach measures the success of a client by checking certain behavioral results. 

Duration of Services

The period of time for services is a major difference. For example, therapy is usually much longer-term as it's common for people to continue in it for several years. Some people even keep going to therapy throughout their lives. Unlike it, coaching is designed for clients to learn how to eventually coach themselves instead of relying on a coach forever.

Other Considerations and Thoughts

  • Unlike therapists who diagnose pathologies and illnesses, life coaches don't diagnose their clients.
  • Despite their differences, there are some similarities between coaching and therapy. For instance, both of these services are designed to help their clients change their lives by making positive changes and becoming more productive.
  • Many people benefit from both services.

The Bottom Line

  •  Coaching is an ideal option for personal growth.
  • At Aspyn Coaching, we provide on-demand recorded coaching sessions.

 Questions? For more information on personal growth and to learn more about Aspyn Coaching, contact us.

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