How do you know which one to choose? Is a therapist the same as a life coach? The answer is no, there is a difference between the two. I will explain the difference and help you understand how to choose one. A life coach is more appropriate when you are seeking guidance for personal growth as it relates to your desire for personal or professional goals. Life coaches do not treat mental illness or “emotional disturbances” and there is no required licensure. There is a course of study needed to become a life coach which results in a certification. Make sure your life coach has that certification. There is an applied science to therapy called Behavioral Science. Therapists treat mental illness and other emotional disturbances and are required to possess a degree, clinical practice, and a license that is monitored by their respective state annually in order to treat you. Should you encounter professional misconduct with a therapist, there is a governing board that can help you address those concerns.
So how do you choose the right therapist? Very carefully!! This is a process you should put some time into because although many therapists may have the same qualifications, their skill sets are not the same. If you are a person that is dealing with severely complex issues then you may want to make sure the person you choose has at least 10-15 years of experience treating patients with complex issues. If you are struggling with something like an addiction then you would want to include that in your search criteria. Think about why you want to seek therapy and jot your reasons down. There are plenty of websites that can be used to find a therapist but my favorite is Psychology Today. There, you can narrow down your search criteria by gender, religion, language, and sexuality gender issues. Knowing what you need from a therapist will help you to find the one that’s right for you. You may not find that person on the first try, but at least you will know it when you do find them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Finding the right life coach requires some work too. This field also has some specialties which means that you as a client should know exactly why you want the services of a life coach. Are you looking for personal, relationship or business coaching? That is something to consider before you begin your search. There are three basic steps to the search but again, this doesn’t mean you’ll find the right person right out of the gate. Find a coach who is certified and specializes in what you’re looking for. Get some references from them so that you can have an idea of how well they really work with other people. Last, make sure they are a good match for you. This is very similar to finding a therapist who is a good match. Consider that you’ll be spending time with this person and sharing some very personal things about you. You will need to feel comfortable sharing with this person so observing their disposition may serve you well. Whichever professional you choose, make sure that you do your due diligence in finding someone that is right for you based on your specific set of needs and circumstances. Best of luck to you!