“Mental health services are like a choose your own adventure self help book” – Hannah Siller
As a Life coach I get a lot of questions about what coaching is and how is it different from traditional therapy. (For more information on getting started in counseling see: Guide to Starting Counseling)
Coaching like counseling focuses on positive mental health by:
- Teaching coping strategies
- Teaching healthier life skills
- Processing difficult life events
- creating achievable goals to a better quality of life
The difference between Coaching and traditional therapy comes down to three things:
- Who can perform it
Counseling / Therapy:
- Diagnosis Mental health disorders usually using The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). (Examples: clinical depressions, Bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia)
- Treats Disorders using Therapeutic methods such as Cognitive behavioral therapy or Medication.
- Can only be done by a licensed professional or an associate under a licensed supervisor.
- Does not treat issues that can be diagnosed, instead, focusing on issues related to life stressors and changes or problems related to maladaptive behavioral patterns. (Example: Grief, Carer changes or focusing on improving organization or stress management)
- Uses coaching models rather than therapeutic or clinical interventions (covered below).
- Can be done unlicensed usually by someone with a particular set of education, credentialing or experience that makes them credible in the area they work. Coaching is far less clinical in its methods meaning they are not covered under insurance.
Is Coaching for you?
Coaching can be a benefit for those who are in need of support and guidance or those going through a temporary life stressor.
There are many different types of coaches specializing in many things including:
- Life changes (career, empty nest)
- Health management (weight and nutrition, self-care)
- Stress and anxiety (due to none clinical reasons)
- Life improvement (organization, goal setting, communication skills)
- Life crisis (divorce, grief, troubled teen)
Coaching is not a replacement for mental health counseling with a licensed therapist/counselor. If you believe you have or have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder please seek a licensed professional.
Personal Coaching Style
My method involves identifying areas of difficulty and ways the client wants to improve and then problem-solving the path between. To do this I follow the Grow Modle of coaching:
- Goal: What the client wants life to look like (the Dream)
- Reality: What the client’s life currently looks like (The problem)
- Options / Obstacles: What problems does the client have overcome and how can they do that (The How)
- Will / Way Forward: The plan for change and what will keep the client motivated (The Drive)
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