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What is the difference between psychotherapy and coaching?

Updated: Jul 16, 2020

In simplest terms, psychotherapy involves taking a deep dive into one's family's and one's personal histories (including mental health issues), under the professional guidance of a licensed practitioner. Psychotherapy helps people  resolve their problems and manage their lives more effectively, by re-framing their perspective through the lens of their past. Typically, first time psychotherapy contracts require longer time commitments - sometimes up to a year.

Coaching engagements, by contrast, usually take place over shorter time periods, offer a more "forward driven," action-oriented approach, and propel  people toward tangible, well defined outcomes. Through a series of mindfully  guided 'coaching conversations,' individuals reconnect with their inner passions, discover (or recreate) their 'purpose', and envision a life they truly desire.

A key difference between coaching and psychotherapy comes into play at the conclusion of every session. Coaching clients will be asked to create specific action steps they're expected to carry out before the next session. In being held accountable for these steps, the responsibility lands firmly on the shoulders of the client. Being held accountable for these action steps creates confidence and builds momentum in creating desired outcomes - both long term and short term.

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