Do I Need a Life Coach… or a Therapist?

do I need a life coach or a therapist

You may be stuck in a rut or healing from a past trauma in your life, which is why you’re here searching for answers or a guidance professional.

Many people in these situations typically ask, do I need a life coach or a therapist? The answer depends on your current needs. A life coach can help you achieve your future goals while a therapist can help you resolve your past and present issues.

Once you determine your overall goal, you will know whether a life coach or a therapist is the right choice for you. Since you’ve decided to take the bold step towards self-improvement, here’s how you can decide on which self-help professional is best for your needs.

What’s the Difference Between a Life Coach and a Therapist?

life coach therapist difference

Both life coaches and therapists’ focus are to help you help yourself. Life coaches and therapists are both considered self-help gurus, but they help in different ways based on your current mental and physical environment.

Life coaches are professionals that can help you achieve your career or personal goals. They use up-to-date techniques and procedures to aid you in:

  • Setting up small yet achievable goals
  • Reducing or quitting unhealthy or debilitating habits
  • Expanding your comfort zone
  • Revealing and training your untapped potential
  • Help you become more accountable for your actions

With a life coach, you’ll enter a process that identifies your life vision and create an agenda to bring it to reality. Some of the techniques that life coaches may use to help you break free from your stagnation include:

  • Self-exploration of personality traits and habits
  • Creating at-home assignments
  • Reviewing and altering goals
  • Developing a more realistic life perspective to achieve your goals

There is no licensing requirement to become a life coach, but specific training leads to a professional certification.

On the other hand, a therapist is more rooted in your current situation that may have been born from a past trauma.

A therapist is a clinical professional that uses different modes of therapy to help you explore and discover subconscious thoughts and feelings that are causing your mental health dilemma.

Therapists tend to use more administrative techniques to address mental and emotional challenges like:

  • Couples counseling
  • Trauma-based counseling
  • Cognitive reframing
  • Mindfulness skills
  • Psychoanalysis

The overall goal of a therapist is to increase your self-awareness so that you can be mentally in charge. Educationally, therapists need to have at least a master’s degree in counseling with a license to prove their professional independence.

How Long Will This All Take?

life coaching time frame

Being aware of how much time you think it will take to overcome your stagnation or mental trials is a solid facet of determining whether you need a life coach or a therapist.

Life coaches will usually package their services based on multiple weeks of sessions.

For example, 4 to 6 weeks or 6 to 10 weeks could be the options that they provide you with. Some coaches may even provide 6-to-12-month packages for clients that have long-term administrative or personal achievements to obtain.

Coaches’ short-term package sessions are immensely popular because of the hand-on experience and directive approach to applying solutions to problems.

If the standard packages do not have a long enough time frame to eradicate your problems, as a client, you are in your right to sign up for an additional package or transition to an “as needed” basis.

When it comes to therapy, there is no set duration of time for the client. Therapy can continue for one week, a few months, or multiple years down the line; the time is simply based on how debilitating your mental and emotional health is and how long it takes to enact the solutions.

Highly structured therapy formats like Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Psychoanalysis tend to continue for months or years to uncover the root of your trauma and habits that may be causing disorder in your life.

Therapy is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach, which is why it takes a longer time to uncover, explore, and solve your most pressing issues.

If you are looking for directions to clear out your tribulations in a few weeks or months, you’ll want a life coach. If you are looking for guidance and don’t mind a couple of months or years to learn and solve your problems, a therapist would be your best bet.

Determining Your Comfort Zone

life coaching comfort level

It is always a great idea to take your comfort level into consideration when you are determining whether you need a life coach or therapist. You may be open to sharing your closest secrets and personal information with another person, or perhaps you want more action than thinking.

Regardless of the reason, your comfort level will help in deciding which professional is right for you. You will want to start with their credentials. Are they certified? Do they have a license? Are their credentials up to date?

All these factors play a significant role in whether your holistic helper has the proper expertise to assist you in your needs.

Therapy is great for establishing boundaries and gauging comfort levels through what therapists call the “therapeutic alliance.” This phrase refers to the notion of a productive and strong relationship between the client and the therapist.

Additionally, when it comes to therapy, finding a counselor that is specialized in your issues helps tremendously. Many therapists will obtain a general or clinical counselor master’s degree and choose a specialization during their post-graduate internship.

While there are no specific requirements to become a life coach, or governing body to regulate the services rendered, the field ensures that its coaches obtain thorough training to cover both personal and executive difficulties.

No degrees or university-level training is required for life coaches either, yet their technical training through life coach associations provide adequate teachings and techniques to render the results that you, the client, desires.

Life coach or therapist, each one comes with their developed philosophy, so look out for the professional that can:

  • Inspire and excite you
  • Handle your current issues
  • Make you feel comfortable
  • Help create trust with your past, present, and future expectations

Professional Training and Specialized Education

professional certification

Life coaches and therapists differ based on the problem that they can solve and the training that comes along with it. Therefore, it is imperative to create a working relationship with the right guidance professional.

If you are looking to heal issues related to mental or emotional distress, then a therapist will be right for you. Therapists are typically college-educated with a master’s or Doctor of Philosophy or Psychology, with a few years of supervised training.

Therapists can also choose their specialization, which makes it easier for you to choose a therapist.

Mental health counselors can focus on various topics like:

  • Trauma
  • Mental illness
  • Depression
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Cognitive disorders

Amongst other domains, these areas are internals and typically stem from childhood or teenage years, and therapists are the people who take you on a blast from the past to help make your present more transparent and understandable.

Life coaches focus on coaching you in the present to make your future better. Coaches are more prone to staying future oriented and providing you with practical tools to help you build the life that you want for yourself.

With a life coach, you can expect to work on tasks concerning:

  • Achieving personal goals
  • Overcoming obstacles
  • Planning
  • Building relationships
  • Improving communication

There are life coach associations, like the International Coach Federation (ICF), that grant coaches with their credentials and certification, although a college degree is not necessary for this job.

However, when you are ready to improve your life and your environment, a life coach at the Associate, Professional, or master’s certified level will be a major benefit to you.

Just remember, when choosing between a therapist and a life coach, be sure to think of your primary goal and whether it is an internal or external feat. Also consider whether the counselor or coach has the necessary expertise and specified training to help you overcome your challenges.

How Does Pricing Differ Between Life Coaches and Therapists?

life coach therapist pricing

When determining whether you need a life coach or a therapist, you’ll want to ensure that you can pay for it because both services will cost a pretty penny.

Therapists are usually more expensive than life coaches because of their level of specific training, experience, and expertise. Based on the typical 40-hour work week of the average American, therapists do their best to create prices that are manageable for their client.

For a session, you can expect to pay between $125 and $250 per hour; and at four times per month, your total cost will range between $500 and $1,000. This may sound intimidating, but not to worry because many therapists take insurances.

These insurances can pay for 25% to 100% of your therapy session, depending on how much your insurance covers.

If face-to-face therapy is too expensive, there are more economical therapy sessions that operate online for less than $50 per week. You can also find therapists that provide discounts or a sliding scale for more affordable service.

Life coaches tend to charge about the same as therapists, give or take $100 or so. Most life coaches that work with individuals may charge between $75 and $1,000 per month depending on the service packages that they provide, with the average cost being between $150 and $200 per session.

Each session can take place 2-4 times per month and last either 30 minutes or 1 hour. Most of their cost is simply based on their service and there are some coaches that can provide you with offers to make the packages even more affordable.

Overall, a life coach can be slightly cheaper than a therapist; yet, although the issue at hand matters more, how much the service will cost will always need to be discussed.

How Do I Choose Between Life Coaching and Therapy?

choose life coach or therapist

You have the information now, but you may still be wondering: do I need a life coach or a therapist? Best answer: choose the professional based on your needs.

Mental and emotional distress that causes debilitating dysfunction for your life will require a therapist. Life coaches are great at handling issues connected to your aspirations, career, personal organization, and your baseline level of emotional wellness.

There are various modes of therapy that you can choose from to help with your mental and emotional issues, and solid coaching that can help with improvement of yourself.

A better quality of life is the goal and both life coaches and therapists use self-responsibility to help you scale your mind and self to the heights that you desire.

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