Updated: Aug 28
If you are looking for an opportunity to change your life for the better and wish to consult with a professional, how do you know if you should seek help from a therapist or a life coach? Both types of professionals provide useful services to help you at times that you are struggling in life. However, they are equipped to help you in different ways.
The biggest difference between a therapist and a life coach is that a therapist will help you look at the past to find the root of your problems and work through them, whereas a life coach will help you look at the future and set goals for where you want to go.
Another difference between a therapist and a life coach is that a therapist is a trained and certified mental health professional, and a life coach is not typically certified to work with mental health issues. Both will typically have a background in psychology or sociology, however a therapist will have a higher level of schooling.
You can choose to work with either a therapist or a life coach based on the severity of the situation that you are experiencing in your personal life. Typically, a therapist will work with diagnosed mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression or PTSD. A life coach can help you if you are working on life transitions, or struggling to meet your personal or professional goals.
Both types of professionals can be helpful to work with, even in tandem. In the past, I have worked with both a therapist and a life coach, and found the experiences to be helpful.
According to Future Fit,
When do you see a life coach?
You have certain goals in life that you want to achieve
You want to accelerate and grow to the next step in your career
You are looking for new ways to progress and challenge yourself
You want to start building healthy habits
You want to hold more accountability in life
You want to put a stop to unhealthy habits
You feel like your life is ‘stuck in a rut’ and you want to break out of your comfort zone
When do you see a therapist?
You have experienced trauma or past pain which you want to heal from
You experience symptoms of mental health which cause you to stress
You are in a struggling or problemed relationship and need couples counselling to work on it.
You continuously have negative emotions and you are looking for help
Both of these types of professionals can be helpful in assisting you with struggles that you are facing in life. However, the type of situation that you are experiencing will help you determine which type of professional is the best fit for you.
When you book an appointment with either a therapist or a life coach, you will typically have sessions that last about an hour where you talk through the issues that you are facing. Both can assist you in learning new ways of thinking about situations, as well as coping skills that you can use.
Therapists and Life Coaches both help you get mentally unstuck, but in different ways:
Therapists help you move on from problems in the past, Life Coaches help you deal with problems you are experiencing in the present.
Therapists provide healing, Life Coaches provide direction.
Therapists help with mental health conditions, Life Coaches help you cope with stress and change your thinking.
Working with either a therapist or a life coach can help you find solutions to your problems, so that you can move forward in life. You can learn to be happier and healthier, and live your best life. When you work with a trained professional, it can help to provide the assistance that you need.
Learn more about therapy and life coaching: