Everyone needs help from time to time as they try to find their way in life. That guidance can take several forms. For people with deep-rooted mental or psychosocial issues, psychotherapy is often the most effective solution. The counselor’s job is to advise and guide their client to a better quality of life. But there’s another professional that can help people attain their goals. That person is a life coach.
Psychotherapy, counseling, and life coaches are similar in many ways. However, they also have some significant differences. Psychotherapy is the medical intervention for people who display sign of mental defect or weakness. The psychotherapist, a medical professional that effects are healing over the course of some a therapeutic session with the troubled individual. The psychotherapist’s goal is to make significant changes in their personality. Counselors generally act as advisors. They make suggestions and attempt to change a person’s behavior in a few sessions.
A life coach is more focused on the personal development of the individual. The person seeing a life coach is generally assumed to be well mentally but needs help identifying, setting, and achieving professional and personal goals. The life coach uses some techniques drawn from counseling, leadership, and sociology to help clients understand their strengths and weaknesses, identify and clarify their goals, and create a plan and a series of related actions designed to help the person attain those goals.
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The essential difference in each case is the nature of the relationship. In psychotherapy, the relationship is one of doctor and patient. The therapist identifies a problem, decides on a course of action to bring about healing, and explains to the patient the actions they will be taking. Counseling generally calls for a more collaborative relationship between the client and the counselor. The counselor is supportive, offers advice, suggestions, and direction, and relies on the person seeking help to participate in discussing the issues and deciding on solutions actively.
The life coach’s relationship with their client is significantly different than those of the psychotherapist and the counselor even though some of the techniques they use are similar. Life coaches work to help clients become skilled at maximizing their potential and offer life training which helps the client to become more confident, determined, and focused. Their goal is not to cure illness, but to help people fulfill their potential and find success, financial security, and happiness.