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Differences between Therapy & Coaching

Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis, smok...

I’m often asked what’s the difference between coaching and therapy?

For over half of my life I’ve been committed to healing through various therapeutic approaches: homeopathy, metaphysical healing, talk therapy, kinesiology and the like.  I’m grateful to be able speak from experience about the value and deep healing available in both coaching and therapy.

At one point, after profoundly positive changes in my life as the result of working with a life coach, I believed I had outgrown therapy.  Yet, when I need help unraveling old patterns and unpacking traumatic life events, therapy continues to be appropriate. Therapy can be especially useful in further understanding one’s past.  Therapists and counselors can guide you through a grieving process.

So what have I learned?  Good therapy, coaching, and other emotional healing work have more in common than not and this becomes more true as the fields evolve…

Some differences can include:

  • Therapy is often sought during crisis or emotional turmoil
  • Coaching is often sought after you have already done some therapy and are ready to build on strengths
  • Therapy examines the past to understand the present
  • Coaching focuses on the present and relies on the wisdom of your future self
  • Therapy can focus on the therapist’s wisdom and analysis
  • Coaching focuses primarily on developing your wisdom
  • Therapy operates mostly with the mind and memories
  • Coaching includes and integrates cues from the body and your kinesthetic experience

Both (good) therapy and coaching:

  • promote emotional healing
  • require deep listening
  • encourage adopting a different perspective
  • help you in making a shift
  • accept you exactly as you are
  • see you as whole and capable of healing

I have a profound respect and reverence for any work that helps me feel more alive, experience more freedom, and allow more joy.   Both types of work require courage, strength, vulnerability and an open heart.

xo Eloiza

Leave a comment

  1. Liked the way you draw distinctions between coaching and therapy. I have been in therapy for quiet a while and am ready to try coaching. Looking forward to learning and developing self confidence in certain areas of my life. Thank you indeed!

  2. Thanks for your openness. I think it can be so helpful to gain another’s perspective. One question for you – do you have any wisdom to share on how to choose a therapist? I think it’s so important to find the right one, because you are trusting this person to guide you in your journey – not a task for just anyone!

  3. Hi Allison. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve had some great therapists but I’ve had encounters with some not-so-helpful ones too. I’ve also outgrown relationships with a couple of therapist who I had once believed I couldn’t live without. Some of the questions I start with include: What are their beliefs and practices with psycho-tropic drugs? What are their beliefs about my ability to heal and transform? (I reject therapists who’s orientation is to only look for what’s wrong with me.) Can I grow to trust this person and do I feel safe in telling the truth? (I need to be able to be honest to get anything meaningful from the process.) I hope this is helpful! If you wanna talk more about it my email is
    xoxo Eloiza

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