I remember the excitement I felt a few years ago when my practice moved toward life coaching rather than traditional therapy. But I still get questions about the differences between the two approaches.  If you’re curious about what distinguishes traditional therapy from life coaching, let me break it down for you.

Traditional therapy:

  1. Focuses on relieving the pain or trauma of the past.
  2. Is based on a medical model that includes a pathology and mental health diagnosis.
  3. Views the therapist as the expert who prescribes treatment to fix the problem.
  4. Demands a doctor-patient type relationship that is sometimes artificial.
  5. Uses face-to-face sessions at 50 minute intervals.

Life Coaching:

  1. Focuses on creating your happy future by clarifying what you want in life. Coaching seeks to guide a person to create and design the life and lifestyle that you want.
  2. Is based on a strengths and positive psychology model. People are not viewed as weak or broken. They are held accountable to achieve their goals in their personal and professional life with their strengths.
  3. Views the coach as a cocreative equal. The coach does not have all the answers and is not above the client. The coach helps the client discover success and holds the client accountable to achieve their goals.
  4. Encourages the relationship to be casual, authentic, enjoyable, and without negative stigma. Both client and coach are energized by joint ventures and mutual friendship.
  5. Uses telephone primarily with some face-to-face sessions. Sessions can be only 30 minutes, 1.5 to 2 hours, or 15 minute laser sessions. You may meet weekly or monthly.

Coaching points:

  1. Are you or someone you know interested in learning more about life coaching?
  2. Do you need therapy or life coaching?
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