Crystal Counseling and Coaching

Coaching vs. Therapy: What’s The Difference?

What is the difference between coaching and therapy?

While there is some overlap between the world of personal growth and mental health, coaching and therapy are two distinctly separate services. Here is an in-depth explanation of the difference between coaching and therapy as well as a general guide to help you determine which service may be more appropriate for your needs.

What is therapy?

Therapy, also known as counseling or psychotherapy, is the introspective and analytical process of diagnosing and resolving psychological disorders, cognitive distortions, behaviors, relationships issues, and trauma. Even if you are considering therapy for a specific topic, those in therapy will explore the full range of their individual psychology from a collective perspective. The focus of therapy is predominantly (though not always) past-oriented, and therapy participants can expect to gain a deep understanding of how their past has influenced their current reality. The goal of therapy is healing, recovery, and post-traumatic growth.

What is coaching?

Coaching is an educational and motivational process where a topical expert called a Coach will act as your personal guide as you work collaboratively together. Whereas therapy will take a deep dive into your past in order to understand your present, coaching starts with assessing your current reality as a neutral foundation for potential growth. Coaching is much more future focused and goal oriented than therapy, and whereas the goal of therapy is healing and recovery, the goal of coaching is to create an action plan to help you achieve a specific desired outcome.

Which one is right for me?

Both coaching and therapy work to improve your life, but they accomplish that goal in separate ways. Therapy tends to focus on enhancing your current and future quality of life by understanding and reconciling with pain from your past. Coaching works to improve your future by dealing with the problems and cognitive distortions that are holding you back in the present moment.

If your focus is healing, recovery, and/or post-traumatic growth then therapy may be a preferable treatment solution. Examples of topics that are best supported by therapy include:

  • Abuse recovery
  • Grief counseling
  • Psychological distress
  • Anxiety
  • Social Anxiety
  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Bipolar and other mood disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Marriage support
  • Sexual health and well-being
  • Relational intimacy
  • Major life change transitioning support
  • Individual/relational support for unique circumstances including (but not limited to)
    • Multicultural
    • Biracial
    • Neurodivergent
    • Neurodiverse
    • Mixed Neurotype

If your focus is achievement and improvement, then coaching will likely be more suitable to your needs. Examples of topics that coaching is optimal for include:

  • Personal growth
  • Self-confidence
  • Mindset adjustment
  • Relational improvement
  • Intimacy improvement
  • Communication improvement
  • Major life change transitioning support
  • Problem solving
  • Difficult decision making
  • Skill development
  • Goal achievement

Benefits of coaching vs therapy

Both coaching and psychotherapy will enhance your quality of life, internal wisdom, and self-awareness, however there is a distinct difference between the benefits of coaching and therapy.

Benefits of therapy

The primary benefits of therapy include processing, healing, and recovering from any pain, loss, grief, trauma, and/or abuse that may have been experienced in the past. Those who participate in therapy gain valuable insight into how their emotions and psychological nuances have been affecting their behavior patterns, relationships, and life experiences. As the result of learning therapeutic coping techniques and gaining introspective awareness, inner peace is often one of the greatest benefits of therapy.

Benefits of coaching

If your objective is to accomplish a specific endeavor, make a difficult decision with confidence, improve a current situation or relationship, or transform problematic behaviors or habits into more helpful ones, then you will likely find the “action plan approach” of coaching to be extremely beneficial and enlightening.


The bottom line

Both coaching and therapy are effective methodologies for improving and enhancing your life, and many people benefit from both. Seasons of life and personal priorities constantly evolve, so it is not uncommon for people to seek out both therapy and counseling at different milestones in their life.

If you would like to set up a therapy or coaching session, I offer convenient virtual services with an easy pay-as-you-go scheduling feature. If you would like to request an appointment, then please contact me here. I would love to hear from you! I am here to make quality care as easy and accessible as possible for you, so if you have any questions, please let me know.

For more information, click here: Coaching Services

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