People have asked me for a therapist referral and when I asked them what kind of therapy they want, it’s obvious they are actually looking for a life coach. Other times, I have had people reach out for coaching, when it’s clear they need a therapist.
General clarification seems lacking so I’ll ad my 2¢ to the conversation, and I invite other coaches and therapists to confirm, deny, correct, or disagree with me as necessary.
The clear difference to me is that therapy is for healing, whereas coaching is for empowerment. Just as athletes go to a physical therapist to heal from an injury and go to a coach to get better at their sport, the same dynamic follows for the quality-of-life professions outside of athletics.
To heal from psychological and emotional trauma, people should go to a therapist. If you are suffering from crippling anxiety or depression, or if you are working to overcome childhood abuse, a therapist is going to be your best bet.
However, if you want to get better at relationships, or find a better career path, if you want to earn more money, or build your self-confidence, then a coach is who you want to talk to.
Of course, there is also overlap between these two (hence the Venn diagram above). A good therapist, in helping you heal from past trauma, depression, etc., will no doubt also help you become better at relationships and have more confidence. Likewise, a good coach will identify any past psycho-emotional pain and allow that healing to lead you towards your goals.
I know a lot of people who work with both a coach and a therapist (just as professional athletes do). Many of my clients have done years of therapy to heal, then come to me for support in building the life that they most want.
The good news is that if you aren’t sure, working with either a coach or a therapist will probably help.
Let me know if this helps or if you have questions.
Lastly, I’m an intimacy and relationships coach. If you are looking to heal from past traumas, you can meet those needs by working with a therapist. But If you are looking to improve your relationships and live a life of “Fuck Yes”, I invite you to shoot me an email or message.