Your family and friends have been talking about the benefits of therapy for quite some time.

Although you’re very appreciative of how open, honest, and committed your family is to their overall mental health and wellness, you’re not really sure that therapy is what you’re looking for in your own journey.

You don’t really have any significant negative past memories that you need to work through. For the most part, you feel like you’ve had a fairly average life. Instead of focusing solely on your mental and emotional health, you’re more interested in setting and achieving the goals you laid out for yourself.

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. You, my friend, may seek benefits from a life coach.

This is how life coaching is different than therapy.

The Background and Education

While both therapists and life coaches can be trained and equipped to do their roles, only one of these occupations requires a license. Becoming a therapist requires education, training, and a license. Therapists are able to see, diagnose, and treat their patients and clients. Life coaches don’t have the education or background to be able to adequately diagnose or treat anyone that they see.

photo of an older teen girl standing looking down at her phone smiling

The Focus

The main difference between therapy and life coaching is related to the focus. The main focus of therapy is typically related to emotions and mental health. When it comes to life coaching, the focus is more on setting and achieving goals. Seeing a therapist is great if you want to seek additional support for a mental health concern. Life coaching is a great option if you’re feeling stuck or wanting more out of your life.

The Structure

A session of therapy will look unique for each individual. Each client will start with an initial session to go over their history, any signs or symptoms they may be experiencing, and their goals for therapy. This session is also a great way to determine if a therapist and client will work well together. After the initial consultation, a therapist will work together with the client to figure out the best treatment option, how often to attend therapy, any homework, and the timeframe to tackle certain issues.

Life coaches have a similar intake where the initial assessment is used to gather all of the information and get to know one another. After the initial consultation, a life coach will set up their coaching so that a client is able to see consistent progress while receiving the coaching.

The Tense

A lot of people go to therapy to help them work through issues from their past. A therapist can give you coping mechanisms and techniques to help you resolve issues that you have been struggling with. Life coaching focuses more on the present moment and the future. A coach will work with you to help you determine where you are now and how to get you to where you want to be in the near or immediate future.

The Timeframe

Therapy can often be a long-term commitment. Therapy sessions can go on for months or even years depending on the client’s past history and goals for their treatment. Life coaching, on the other hand, is seen as more of a short-term commitment. Typically, life coaches have packages that are as short as six weeks. Other coaches have packages that may be a year long. Compared to therapy, life coaching is a shorter commitment.

Next Steps

Depending on your goals, a therapist or a life coach will be able to help you. When it comes to seeking additional support, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Take the time to research your options, examine your goals, and determine what is the best fit for you and your needs. We’re here when you’re ready to move forward. Reach out to us today to set up a consultation.

About the author(s)

Karen is the founder and Clinical Director of Cohesive Therapy NYC. She earned a Masters in Social Work from New York University and has extensive training in Hypnosis, Anxiety, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Brainspotting, and DGBI. She is a member of the Institute of Certified Anxiety Treatment Professionals, The Rome Foundation, the National Association of Social Workers, The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, and the American Social of Clinical Hypnosis.

About Cohesive Therapy NYC

At Cohesive Therapy NYC, we believe that you have an immense amount of inner strength and resilience, even if it is yet to be discovered. Cohesive Therapy NYC is a private group psychotherapy practice in New York City that focuses on treating adults who struggle with Anxiety, Trauma, Chronic Illness, and the adult impact of Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN). Cohesive Therapy NYC therapists see clients all throughout New York State (Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester, and statewide) using online therapy and are also available for in-person visits in their NYC offices, located at 59 East 54th Street, New York, NY 10022. We specialize in helping people who are dealing with anxiety, relationship issues, chronic illness, and digestive and adult trauma related to childhood family dynamics. We all deserve a chance to be well and have support.