When do I go to a coach or to a psychotherapist?

The story of how I stumbled upon the idea of changing my career and diving into the world of psychology came out during coaching sessions. I needed to put my thoughts in order before I went to the second university and go from the scratch in a new field, the health one. So, as you can imagine, I consider coaching a marvelous tool for its area of expertise. But it does have its limits. Sometimes, the roots of our thoughts and behaviors run deep, like ancient tree roots entrenched in the soil of our being. It is in these profound moments that coaching might find itself tapping its little shoulder, saying, “Hey, I think you need a bit more than what I can offer.”

That’s where the beauty of having a coach with a psychotherapist background comes into play! With this dynamic duo, there are no limits to exploration. If you want and decide to dive deeper, to unearth the hidden treasures of your psyche, you won’t be held back by any constraints. The possibilities for self-exploration become as vast as you wish to become.

Coaches and psychotherapists are both professionals who provide guidance and support to individuals, but they have different roles, training, and focuses. Here are some key differences:

  • Psychotherapist: Psychotherapists typically have advanced degrees in fields such as psychology, social work, counseling, or psychiatry. They undergo extensive training, including supervised experience, to provide mental health and emotional support.
  • Coach: Coaches do not require a specific degree or licensure to practice. While there are coaching certifications and training programs available, the field is less regulated compared to psychotherapy. Coaches come from various professional backgrounds and often bring their expertise to coaching.
  • Psychotherapist: Psychotherapists primarily address psychological, emotional, and mental health issues. They work with individuals who may be dealing with clinical disorders, past traumas, or significant emotional challenges. Their focus is on helping clients explore and understand the root causes of their issues and develop strategies for healing and personal growth.
  • Coach: Coaches typically focus on personal and professional development, goal setting, and achievement. They work with individuals to identify and reach specific goals, such as career advancement, improving work-life balance, or enhancing leadership skills. Coaches do not provide treatment for mental disorders or emotional issues. If the client has emotional obstacles to reach a certain goal, this is not the coaching area of expertise.
  • Psychotherapist: Psychotherapy often involves delving into a client’s past, addressing deep-seated emotional issues, and using evidence-based therapeutic techniques to facilitate healing and personal growth. It is often more insight-oriented and may delve into a client’s childhood or past experiences (it depends on the type of psychotherapy)
  • Coach: Coaching is typically future-oriented and action-focused. Coaches help clients set goals, develop plans, and take concrete steps to achieve their objectives. They may use specific tools and strategies to support clients in their personal or professional development.
  • Psychotherapist: Psychotherapists are subject to legal and ethical standards related to patient confidentiality, informed consent, and professional boundaries. They are mandated reporters and must report any potential harm to self or others.
  • Coach: Coaches may have ethical guidelines but are generally not bound by the same legal and ethical requirements as psychotherapists. Their scope of practice is often defined by the coaching organization or association they are affiliated with.
  • Psychotherapist: Psychotherapists work with clients who may have emotional, cognitive or behavior concerns. Clients seeking psychotherapy often have symptoms or distress that impact their relations and daily functioning.
  • Coach: Coaches typically work with individuals who are seeking to make positive changes in their lives, enhance their performance, or achieve specific goals. Coaching clients are usually functioning well but want to optimize their potential.

The restructuring of personality in psychotherapy is a process that involves the modification, adjustment, and reorganization of an individual’s patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. It aims to help individuals develop a healthier and more adaptive way of functioning in the world, leading to improved psychological well-being and enhanced relationships.


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