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4 min read

Therapy vs Life Coaching: Navigating Your Path to Personal Growth

woman in therapy

Therapy and life coaching therapy are often spoken about in the same context, and both may be helpful in certain situations. However, there are distinct differences between life coaching and psychotherapy, and learning these differences can be essential to getting what you need out of therapy sessions. In this article, we'll look at life coaching vs. therapy and how they can affect mental health.

Understanding the Distinct Roles of Therapy vs Life Coaching

One of the simplest ways to differentiate between therapy and life coaching is to recognize that therapy focuses on mental health; life coaching focuses on goals. In some cases, working with a life coach can improve mental health by teaching stress management techniques to improve work-life balance, or offering ways to improve communication skills.

However, life coaches are not typically trained in chronic mental health issues or deeper psychological exploration techniques. Many coaches work with a background of life experience, and share practices that have helped them achieve personal growth and success. Licensed therapists are trained in a variety of evidence-based practices for the treatment of mental health disorders.

What can I expect from life coaching?

Life coaching is a targeted approach. A life coach will work in an area where a client is feeling stuck or believes they need improvement. It is very goal-oriented, with the life coach offering encouragement and advice regarding specific goals set by the client.

Life coaching focuses on increasing self-confidence, working on personal growth, and helping their clients find their purpose. It can also help a person learn to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and how to best use them in personal or professional goals.

What Can I Expect from a Therapy Practice?

Working with a therapist can be similar in many ways. Therapy sessions also focus on goal-setting, personal growth, and improving self-esteem and self-confidence. Mental health professionals also help a clients identify negative emotions and patterns of behavior, and offer coping skills to help them improve aspects of their lives.

Mental health treatment typically has more depth. The therapeutic relationship is an important factor in healing, as the therapist will often go into past traumas with their clients to overcome challenges of the present.

Differences in Academic Requirements and Professional Credentials

One of the key differences between life coaching and therapy is regulation. While there are some certifications available for life coaching, and some life coaches belong to a body called the International Coaching Federation, in general anyone can call themselves a life coach. Some life coaches are great at what they do because they have the type of experience that can really help you learn to set goals in life and offer great advice in certain areas. Others perhaps not so much. And it's hard to know which is which.

However, licensed therapists are held to higher educational and professional standards. Therapists must complete at least a master's degree in their field and often have a doctoral degree. They are also required to follow a series of regulations and a code of ethics.

Benefits of Therapy Over Life Coaching

Therapy Helps You Heal from Mental Health Challenges

If you are someone with a mental health condition, working with a therapist can be far more effective at managing symptoms. Life coaches may help you with personal and professional goals, but they are not trained to work specifically with mental health issues.

For someone who is dealing with past trauma, or requires deeper understanding to facilitate mental wellness, therapy is a more effective option. Eating disorders, anxiety or depression rooted in childhood trauma, PTSD, and other more complicated mental health issues cannot be addressed with a life coach. Psychologists and psychiatrists are also able to prescribe medication, which may be a part of mental health treatment for some individuals.

Therapy Can Do What Life Coaching Does, But With Additional Benefits

If you're looking for work-life balance, stress management, or goal setting, life coaching sessions may be the answer. However, a therapist can also offer all of these services with the addition of further experience in a variety of treatment approaches. While a therapist can help with self-improvement, they can also facilitate emotional healing and offer coping strategies for a more meaningful life.

There is a Greater Level of Certainty in Practices

A licensed therapist will be educated and specialize in evidence-based practices. This means that the approaches they used are backed by research, and are effective strategies for specific challenges. They also have higher levels of specialization in different areas of mental health care.

And in addition to being held to higher standards within their practice, therapists are also held to certain legal standards. As a healthcare professional, a therapist may not violate confidentiality, or any industry ethics code without fear of liability. They carry liability insurance for this reason. The higher regulation and standards of a mental health professional mean that you can be more confident in the efficacy and ethics of their practice.

Why You Might Choose to Work With a Life Coach

Some may work with a life coach vs. a therapist because they are looking for specific help in their professional lives, and a life coach offers the kind of experience that can help. Life coaching services can also be a solution for those who want to focus on a short-term way to get into a more positive mindset or handle life transitions.

Life coaching services can also offer guidance in the creative process, help develop strategies for professional goals, and offer coping skills for stress management.

What to Look for in a Therapist

Look for a therapist you feel comfortable opening up to, and who has direct expertise with your presenting problems. In Brooklyn, you'll find far more options for life coaching and therapy than you would in other less populated areas. Take some time to research what you need, as therapy session structures depend on the type of treatment you're looking for.

While life coaching services can help with life goals, therapy can offer a transformative journey toward a greater sense of purpose and well-being.

Life Coaching and Therapy in Brooklyn

If you feel stuck in your life and aren't sure how to move forward, therapy can be the solution to a more fulfilling life.

At Williamsburg Therapy Group, we understand that sometimes you need more than just encouragement, which is why we are staffed with all doctoral-level psychotherapists who utilize the latest evidence-based practices.

Give us a call today, and our patient coordinator will help you find the right Brooklyn therapist to not only help you meet your personal goals but also experience a greater sense of well-being.

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