It’s no surprise there’s been a huge rise in the self-help movement, from books, courses, apps and even festivals! We’ve come a long way to de-stigmatise mental health and we’re here to tell you that taking that first step to WANT to improve your mental health is one of the best decisions you could ever make. Therapy, in all forms, is for everyone. There isn’t a person on the planet that couldn’t reap the benefits! We all carry loads, we all have tricky circumstances we need to navigate sometimes, and we should all have aspirations and goals for our future selves. But how do you know if you need therapy vs life coaching?

Meet the founders of leading mental health care clinic Kove – Dr. Jenna Vyas-Lee (clinical psychologist) + Jordan Vyas-Lee (psychotherapist + CBT expert), here to decipher the truths.

There is some overlap between the roles of a life coach and a therapist— both work to enable clients to make positive changes in their lives and become more productive. But they’re not the same.

What Is A Life Coach?

A life coach focuses on setting and achieving goals. They can support and assist your professional and personal life, helping you to make decisions and plan for the future.

If you feel stuck, life coaching teaches you how to free yourself by encouraging and applying gentle pressure. By holding you accountable, they help you make meaningful progress on the goals you identify.

Life coaching resembles talk therapy because the focus tends to be on you. However, life coaches cannot diagnose or treat mental health conditions. Instead, they focus on your current situation – i.e. where are you, and where do you want to be? 

What Is A Therapist? (Counsellor, Psychiatrist, Psychologist)

Therapy helps you to create a space away from the pressure you might be dealing with at work or home. 

Therapists help you to understand what’s contributing to your negative patterns and getting in the way of meeting your goals.

The focus is on examining problems from their source, seeing how old internal patterns relate to your current situation and helping you heal. So you feel free to move forward and make the big important decisions needed.

In therapy sessions, you often return to the problems from the past that led to your current challenges. These include emotional experiences, patterns, trauma, past learnings and beliefs. 

The goal is to release any places where you’re blocked, leading to improved mood and lower anxiety levels. There are many different types of therapists from counsellors to psychologists and also psychiatrists…. The latter is able to diagnose and prescribe medications for mental health conditions like depression, mood disorders and anxiety to name a few. 

Common Myths

Life coaching and therapy are the same things

Despite the occasional overlap, the work and processes of therapists and life coaches are distinct.

Therapy aims to help you learn about your past, discover how to heal, grow, and become more self-aware. The aim is to feel better and relieve the symptoms of mental health issues like anxiety, depression or stress for example. Happiness and ‘more success’ flows from this.

Life coaching helps you succeed, grow, and become more effective and fulfilled in your life. The aim is to make positive progress and achieve your goals.

Life coaches have the same professional standards as therapists

Therapists are required to meet strict education and training standards before they can register to practice. They must get specific degrees and have many supervised practice hours. 

Life coaching, in contrast, is currently an unregulated profession. 

Meaning it is not held to the same rigorous standards as therapy. Most practising life coaches have the necessary education and experience to be life coaches. 

Life coaches often choose to become certified and uphold the ethical and professional standards that it brings. But, it’s up to you to determine whether a specific life coach is qualified enough to help you. With both, you need to feel comfortable with who you choose.

Therapists only work with people who have mental health conditions

Therapy isn’t just for those struggling with their mental health. Therapists can diagnose and treat from a healthcare perspective. But, therapy can benefit anyone experiencing stress, intense emotions or life transitions. 

Therapy provides a safe, non-judgmental place to vent about your experiences, explore your options and develop skills to handle various life challenges.

If you would like to explore ways to help your mental health, then check out Kove.

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