What will work for you? A Breakdown of Coaching versus Therapy
Life can get hard and sometimes you need more than kind and comforting words from loved ones or friends. You need professional help. In this article, we will discuss the various types of therapy and compare them to a trauma-informed coaching program.
Therapy Types: Emotive & Cognitive
Therapy by a licensed and accredited medical or mental health professional consists of two main models: emotive (how you manage and process your emotions) and cognitive (how you intake and react to things and people around you).
For the purpose of this article, we will primarily focus on the emotive ABC model and an overview of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
1. Emotive – ABC Model
The ABC model in emotive therapy stands for Activating event, Belief system, and Consequent emotion or behavior. Created by Dr. Albert Ellis, it focuses on challenging and changing irrational beliefs that occur between the activating event and emotional or behavioral response.
For example, maybe you grew up in a family that was focused on performance, and as a result, you avoid taking breaks because you are afraid of being seen as lazy. With the ABC model, each time you feel exhausted and experience feelings of shame or embarrassment, you can question those negative emotions and prioritize your self-care.
2. Cognitive – Disputing Irrational Beliefs
Your thoughts have power. Often, you carry beliefs that came from your family, culture or religious background. This is part of your life scripting. Scripting is everything that causes you to define how you want to receive or give love, experience joy or have confidence in your ability to succeed in all areas of your life.
Unquestioned beliefs from your life script often lead to destructive and disruptive behavior that is harmful to your well-being. For instance, you may choose a career or a life partner based on overt or covert messages from your family members.
Cognitive therapy involves actively disputing and challenging irrational beliefs through logical reasoning, problem-solving, and evidence-based arguments. For example, you may think that only people from privileged backgrounds can be successful. In therapy, you will learn to identify the source of that belief so that you can become more successful in your life.
Regardless of the therapy type, you will receive homework assignments from your therapist. Now, let’s discuss the purpose of these assignments and how to maximize their benefits during your time in therapy.
3. Homework Assignments
Attending therapy sessions is not enough; you must continue to apply what you have learned during your session. Regardless of the therapy model, clients are often assigned homework to practice and apply new rational beliefs and behaviors in real-life situations.
Note: To maximize your investment of time and money, make sure you and your therapist co-create a treatment plan which includes regular homework assignments.
Importance of a treatment plan
Going to therapy without a plan doesn’t work. The reason is because some therapists have no incentive to get you to heal.
Why would you say that? Well, throughout a therapist’s career, he or she may have to accrue billable hours, haggle with insurance companies, and it can be hard to get paid. Consequently, crappy therapists don’t mind if you rot away mentally for years.
This is not to invalidate therapy. I have and do refer potential and existing clients to therapy for help.
Please make sure your therapist specializes in trauma and co-create a treatment plan with homework and goals. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time and money.
Next, let’s discuss the differences between cognitive and emotive therapy.
Therapy Similarities and Differences
1. Therapy Focus
Both cognitive therapy and emotive therapy address the interplay between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. However, cognitive therapy focus on identifying and modifying thought patterns, while emotive therapy focuses on challenging irrational beliefs.
This may sound a little complicated, so let’s say it another way. Through emotive therapy, you will learn tools to understand your emotions so that you can create new and accurate beliefs about yourself and your world. Meanwhile, cognitive therapy will empower you with tools to analyze how you think, so you can easily regulate your emotional reactions.
It may be easier to begin with emotive theory. This will help you to accept and work with your emotions rather than ignore them.
2. Therapy Techniques
Every therapist has a particular style of working with patients or clients. It is important to understand how they treat conditions. There is no wrong style; it is a matter of which treatment plan will work best for your needs.
Cognitive therapy employs techniques like cognitive restructuring, problem-solving, and behavioral activation. In contrast, emotive therapy emphasizes the ABC model, disputing irrational beliefs, and the use of logical reasoning.
3. Emotional Expression
While cognitive therapy acknowledges emotions, emotive therapy places a greater emphasis on the expression and acceptance of emotions during therapy sessions. For those new to therapy, I highly recommend starting with emotive therapy and then transition into cognitive therapy.
If your unresolved trauma is severe and/or you have a difficulty expressing your emotions, you have several therapy options. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) are also great options for survivors of rape, war, abducting or horrific acts of violence.
Therapy is a great start; however, to truly transform your life, you need accountability and goals. Coaching will provide you with the next level of support.
In the next section, we will discuss the different components of coaching.
How a Life Coach differs from a Therapist?
Life coaching and therapy are two distinct approaches aimed at helping individuals achieve personal growth, success, and well-being, but they differ in several ways:
1. Focus and Purpose
Life coaching primarily focuses on assisting individuals in identifying and achieving their goals. A coach will also help you to maximize your potential and improve specific areas of your life, such as your business or personal relationships.
Coaches work with clients who are already functioning but seek guidance to achieve their desired outcomes. In other words, coaches cannot diagnose or treat clients’ mental illnesses nor help clients who are in an incapacitated state.
Most coaches have a fixed timeline within which they work with clients to achieve predefined goals and objectives. For example, I offer a one-to-one six-month coaching program for entrepreneurs. During my program I help clients to resolve their past traumas or addiction issues.
2. Time Orientation
In contrast, therapy commonly involves exploring the past to gain insight into current issues. Therapists delve into childhood experiences, traumas, and deep-rooted patterns to understand the origin of psychological challenges and facilitate healing. However, as a trauma-informed coach, I also show you how your past influences you today.
3. Training and Credentials
Life coaches have various backgrounds and typically obtain certification from coaching programs. While there are recognized coaching organizations, the coaching industry lacks standardized regulation or licensing requirements. It is important you research their background, read their testimonials and learn about their coaching methodology.
As a life coach, I specialize in traumas and addictions. Below is a link to an episode where I discuss love addiction.
4. Scope and Approach
Life coaching tends to be more action-oriented, focusing on practical strategies, accountability, and motivation. Coaches ask powerful questions, challenge limiting beliefs, and provide guidance and support to help clients achieve their goals.
It’s worth noting that both cognitive therapy and emotive therapy have been found to be effective in treating a wide range of mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders, depression, and phobias. The choice between the two may depend on the individual’s specific needs, preferences, and the expertise of the therapist.
It’s important to note that there can be some overlap between life coaching and therapy, as both fields aim to support individuals in their personal growth and well-being. Some therapists integrate coaching techniques into their practice, while some life coaches may have backgrounds in counseling or psychology.
DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT PROVIDE MENTAL HEALTH ADVICE
The information in this article is for informational purposes only. No material in this article or website is not a substitute for professional medical and/or mental health advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you read from me or anyone else online.
Also, this article is not designed to diagnose or treat you or anyone with a suspected mental health illness. Please, if you need help, seek appropriate help from a lawyer, health care provider or law enforcement officer.