What Is The Difference Between Coaching and Psychotherapy?

I am both a Coach and Licensed Psychologist in the state of Illinois with training and experience diagnosing and treating emotional and psychological problems. Although there are similarities between Coaching and Psychotherapy, I will not conduct psychotherapy with my coaching clients. Although both Coaching and Psychotherapy use knowledge of human behavior, motivation, behavior change, and some similar counseling techniques, there are major differences in the goals, focus, and level of professional responsibility.

As your Coach, my job is to help you take information and skills you already have to help you set goals, develop an action plan, implement your plan, and develop strategies to maintain this. You as the client, set the agenda for coaching and evaluate your own progress. You can expect that I will be open, authentic, and direct to assist you in moving forward.

Psychotherapy, on the other hand, is a health care service. Its primary focus is to identify, diagnose, and treat mental disorders. The goals include alleviating symptoms, understanding personality dynamics which create symptoms, and changing dysfunctional behaviors which are the result of these disorders. It is usually reimbursable through health insurance (whereas coaching is not at present).

Because of these differences, the roles of Coach and psychotherapist are often in potential conflict, so I believe that it is ethically inappropriate, under most circumstances, for me to play both roles with a client. If I am your Coach, I cannot be your therapist. This means that if either of us recognizes that you have a problem that would benefit from psychotherapy, I will refer you or direct you to appropriate resources and maintain my role as your Coach.


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