Coaching vs Counseling/Psychotherapy

As the seeker of services what you want to accomplish is of paramount importance.

Critical Q: What’s happening today?

Bridging where you are and where you want to be starts with getting some clarity about what you really want right now, which in turn leads to more clarity about what you need now. Once you have the essentials, like food, shelter, clothing, needs may be less urgent, always in flux.

Change is the constant. Needs change, so you might want to ask yourself, “What do I need right now?”

A licensed mental health professional or other clinician, or personal development advisor may be qualified &/or credentialed to provide both coaching and counseling services. When you work with someone who is qualified to provide both types of services, together you will create a contract, where you sign off on an initial agreement for services. When the contract you create is for coaching services, the service provider may document why coaching is a better fit for you currently than counseling. The coach will help you assess & pinpoint what you need now during the coaching conversation. The contract might include a written distinction between coaching & counseling services and might include a statement that if the need for counseling arises you will have to seek an alternate provider for that specific role. In other words a coach will not simultaneously be your counselor and a counselor will not be your coach.

Relationships as Mirrors

In the beginning each of us was birthed into existence at the tribal level. So much so that our very survival was dependent on caretaking from others. Our story in adulthood is something quite different. In fact, sometimes our very survival can depend upon our ability to be independent and withstand separation from significant others.

Now we have awareness of an essential human dilemma. We must reconcile both facets of our existence. We exist in a duality. We are tribal and we are unique, independent and individual. And we are faced often, with a call to create a bridge between these ways of being. And again, and again, and again, the building of bridges is required of us, in all facets of life. Whether we are at work or at play, with our families and friends, or in our solitude, creating or tuning into spirit, we simply must choose how to apportion our precious time and reconcile the many-faceted needs that these two dimensions of our being demand to have fulfilled.

We each manage this contradiction between the needs of belonging and the needs of being separate with varying degrees of challenge and success. When the challenge is experienced as high, our existence can be troubled and pained. There is also great opportunity for awareness and self-reflection. One way to open up and expand our heart-felt need to join with others is to consider how relationships exist in our lives as mirrors. When we look at difficult relationships let’s inquire of ourselves what is the perception we are having of the other? How do we judge them? What are the qualities that we find difficult?

How might the negative quality we are perceiving be viewed in a positive light? How might we have disowned that part of ourselves? When we are open to looking at difficult relationships in this way we open ourselves to the possibility of incorporating more balance into our own being.

This holiday time of year can bring high relief to painful relationships past and present. Beginning to view how each difficult encounter can serve as an opportunity to become more informed of disowned parts of ourselves and reclaim our wholeness can lessen the negative impact and infuse us with a sense of the positive.