đŸ¤¯ Therapy vs. Life Coaching đŸ§ 

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“Maybe you should talk to someone”

You agree with the suggestion but then feel overwhelmed about next steps. Maybe you don’t want to see a “shrink” and you feel a sense of shame around managing your mental health. Perhaps you’re unsure of the level and type of care you need. Psychiatrists and psychologists are different in that the former is a medical doctor who can prescribe medication while the other is not a medical doctor, though they might hold a doctorate degree, and usually specializes in talk therapy. The term “therapist” encompasses those who are trained and licensed to provide a variety of treatments or to help rehabilitate people. So how is therapy different from life coaching? This guide will explain what each role and area excels in to help point you in the right direction.

The Benefits of Therapy & Life Coaching

Therapy is typically used to treat mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or trauma. It involves talking to a therapist about past experiences and current feelings in order to gain insight into the underlying causes of a person’s struggles.

Life coaching, on the other hand, is more focused on helping people achieve specific goals and objectives in their life. The coach works with the client to identify areas that need improvement and then creates an action plan for how they can get there. Life coaches often help people find clarity around their purpose in life and create strategies for achieving success in various aspects of their lives such as career, relationships, finances, and more.

When to Seek Support From a Therapist or a Life Coach

Therapy and life coaching are two very different approaches to help people reach their goals. Therapy focuses on understanding the root causes of a person’s issues, while life coaching is more goal-oriented and action-focused.

In the field of psychotherapy, many of the founders were focused on the patient’s background and childhood. Therapy is the appropriate place for getting a diagnosis and dealing with unconscious, repressed emotions and trauma from the past. Additionally, brain disorders, addictions (e.g. alcoholism), anxiety and depression, and personality disorders (e.g. narcissistic and borderline personality disorders) are within the purview of therapy. Looking into the past with therapy can be the place to start when people feel they cannot function in their lives or that their career, relationships, and other aspects of life just not working. These people might find it hard, if not impossible, to pull themselves up by their bootstraps much less pull themselves off the couch.

Outside of this, there are many issues that don’t require therapy in order to be solved. With life coaching, instead of being stuck in the story of the past, you’re creating a new narrative for yourself. There’s an analysis of your current state and then a distinct movement forward. Changing thoughts and behavior along with active problem-solving are involved. This person tends to be ‘functioning’ in life but they want to do, be, and have better. Support around optimizing and thriving to get to the next level is the name of the game. These people aren’t severely depressed and struggling to get out of bed; instead, they might be thinking of how to best structure their morning routines for increased productivity.

Think of functioning on a spectrum; there is non-functioning (which could include people with severe anxiety and/or depression, suicidal thoughts, or PTSD), functioning being more in the middle (being able to get out of bed and hold down a job, etc) and then thriving. Therapy can really help move from non-functioning to functioning. Life coaching can really help people move from a functional level to more of a next-level way of playing the game of life.

Therapy vs. Life Coaching: How do They Differ?

A therapist and a life coach are both professionals who can help individuals to make positive changes in their lives, but they do so in different ways. Here are some key differences between the two:

  • Training and qualifications: Therapists are trained mental health professionals who have a degree in psychology, social work, or a related field. They must also be licensed in order to practice. Life coaches, on the other hand, come from a variety of professional backgrounds and may or may not have formal training in a specific field. Some life coaches may be certified through a coaching program, but this is not required in order to practice. here is a responsibility for self-regulating and appropriately referring out clients who need therapy.

  • Approach to treatment: Therapists use a variety of techniques, such as talk therapy, to help individuals address and overcome mental health issues or personal challenges. Life coaches don’t “treat” anyone; they help individuals to set and achieve specific objectives, and may use techniques such as visualization, goal-setting and accountability to help their clients make progress.

  • Past-focused vs. future-focused. In short, therapy tends to be more past-focused and life coaching is more future-focused. Through focusing on the past, as well as present concerns, therapists can help individuals identify and work through underlying emotional issues. Life coaches, on the other hand, focus more on the present and future. They can help you develop a sense of purpose and satisfaction in work and life, resilience, meaningful connection with others, and create more joy and balance in life so that you can optimize fulfillment.

  • Scope of practice: Therapists are trained to work with individuals who have mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, or trauma. They are qualified to diagnose and treat these issues. Life coaches, on the other hand, do not diagnose or treat mental health issues. They focus on helping individuals to achieve specific goals or make positive changes in their personal or professional lives.

Overall, the main difference between therapists and life coaches is the scope of their practice and the approach they take to treatment. While both can be helpful in making positive changes in one’s life, it is important to choose the right professional based on your specific needs and goals.

Female Friendships: Part I

FriendShip is a Sheltering Tree

Friendships are an important aspect of a happy, healthy life.

As part of our work with clients, we address social support systems – not just to figure out potential obstacles with newly developed healthy eating patterns (i.e. how to now navigate book club, happy hour, pizza night) but to also check in and see how to supported our client feels in life and how to improve it further. Studies show that, particularly for women, social support is a determinant for health.

In addition, the concept of ‘soul-food’ comes into play. Sure there’s nutrition that helps build our bones, cells, muscles, but there’s also invisible energy that also ‘feeds’ us on a deeper level. Think back to your childhood or adolescence when you went outside to play with friends for hours or were thoroughly engaged with a project of your choosing. Your parent might have called you in for dinner but you were so involved in the game or in a state of ‘flow’ with your individual enterprise that you responded with “I’m not hungry!”

While we know that social media is not a substitute for creating deeper friendships, it’s often easier to scroll through our feed, “like,” and move on with our day. We create a self-deceptive illusion of not being isolated; instead, we believe we are ‘connected’ with our community and x-number of friends (followers).

The common challenge for many clients is that, particularly for those in their 30s-50s, the busyness of work and family life, moving away or having friends relocate, changing jobs, and the changing seasons of our lives can loosen the bonds of friendship and social support. It may be years before one even realizes the effect these gradual changes have had on their previously-strong support system.

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Call to the Nation: Take your Vacation!

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Of all industrialized nations, America has the least number of vacation days. A far cry from the 30+ days offered as annual leave and paid holidays by other countries such as Germany, Austria, Spain, and Italy, some Americans are lucky to get (and use) the roughly two weeks given as a ‘benefit’. However, quite a few of us are not even taking this small amount of time off, in the true sense of the word. To ask for a week or *gasp* two off requires advance notice of a few months, large efforts to secure work while away (though about a third of us do work during vacations), and tends to bring a decent amount of anxiety as we worry about being perceived as disloyal or lazy.

Often vacation time is now mostly utilized as personal days, taken here or there, to run errands and ‘catch up’ with life’s demands or to take a mental break from the severe stress of over-work. Do you know anyone who works 40 hours a week? Rarely do we at One Bite Wellness encounter a person who works 40 hours or less at a job; most people answer their work ranges from 45- 60 hours per week. Because of this over-working, we have higher levels of stress and depression and less recreational time with friends and family, much less time to cook and exercise.

Americans may be economically more advantaged than other countries in the world, but we seem to have lost our health and longevity. We have some of the poorest health rankings and spend more money per capita on healthcare than almost any other country. In 1980, we ranked 11th in the world for longevity; now we’ve fallen to 42nd, according to the Central Intelligence Agency.

How did we get here? Well the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 regulates the maximum number of working hours, over-time, child labor, and minimum wage but never mentioned paid time off. There was never a baseline set for vacation or sick time and now it’s up to the employee and employer to negotiate. Many companies will give workers about 1-2 weeks off per year, but they can also stipulate that you cannot use more than a certain amount of days in a row. About a quarter of Americans don’t get any vacation time at all.

Benefits of a Break

  • Studies suggest that those who take vacations are less likely to suffer from heart disease and other illnesses.
  • Taking a vacation from work is associated with better health, relationships and social life, productivity and creativity, and general well-being.
  • Replenishment and life-enriching experiences, preventing ‘burn-out’
  • Stronger social and familial bonds
  • Improved patience and tolerance, less anxiety and depression

These benefits really take place over a block of vacation time, not a day taken here or there.

Focusing on this issue of vacation time forces us to examine our values, as individuals and as a country. What do we value? Economic progress over all else? What about our health and our families? Our mental well-being? We work hard and long for progress and production, but if we want to improve our quality of life and well-being, we have to fully realize that vacations matter greatly.

Do it for your sanity and your health. Be ‘time rich’. Take a vacation– holistic nutritionist’s orders. đŸ™‚