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The Difference Between Life Coaching and Therapy: A Guide

In today's fast-paced life, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and struggle with personal and professional challenges. Seeking help from a professional can be a great way to move forward and gain the clarity and tools needed to overcome obstacles. However, deciding whether to pursue therapy or life coaching can be confusing. While both approaches offer guidance and support, they differ in their focus, techniques, and goals. In this article, we'll explore the differences between therapy and life coaching and help you determine which approach is best suited for your needs.

Having suffered from depression years ago I know the importance of having trusted support during this difficult time. For me, I was already one year into a situational/biochemical depression before seeking for help. At the time, I didn't know the difference between a psychotherapist and a life coach. Seeing that I was in crisis mode, I not only needed a psychiatrist but that was followed up by weekly psychological sessions to help me survive this period. It was a necessary step for me to move forward and get out of the dark place I was in. From that day forward, I was a strong advocate for mental wellbeing, finding help and the importance of sharing this experience with those who were also struggling.

That being said, once I was passed this therapy, a void was left....What happens now? Having to deal with this for over 2 years, I was lost, stuck and unsure where to go from there.

This is where a life coach was pivotal in my advancement both in my personal life but also in my professional life.

What's the difference between the two? Here's some helpful information:

When Is a Life Coach Valuable?

A life coach is valuable when you want to make positive changes in your life, set and achieve goals, and gain clarity and direction. Life coaching is focused on the present and future, and it aims to help you identify your strengths and develop strategies to overcome obstacles and achieve your desired outcomes. A life coach can help you:

1. Clarify Your Goals

A life coach can help you identify what you want to achieve in different areas of your life, such as career, relationships, health, or personal growth. They can help you set specific, achievable, and meaningful goals and develop a plan to reach them.

2. Overcome Limiting Beliefs

A life coach can help you identify and overcome self-limiting beliefs and negative thought patterns that hold you back from achieving your goals. They can help you reframe your mindset, develop self-confidence, and cultivate a positive attitude.

3. Build Accountability

A life coach can help you stay accountable to your goals and commitments by providing structure, support, and feedback. They can help you track your progress, celebrate your successes, and learn from your setbacks.

4. Improve Communication Skills

A life coach can help you improve your communication skills, both in your personal and professional life. They can teach you how to listen actively, express your thoughts and emotions effectively, and build positive relationships.

5. Manage Stress and Balance Life

A life coach can help you manage stress and balance different aspects of your life. They can help you prioritize your tasks, delegate responsibilities, and create a healthy work-life balance.

When Is Getting Therapy Valuable?

Getting therapy is valuable when an individual is struggling with mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, addiction, trauma, or other emotional problems.Therapy can provide a safe and supportive space for individuals to explore their feelings, learn coping skills, gain new insights, and develop healthier behaviours. A therapist can help you:

1 - Address Harmful Thought Patterns

A therapist can help you identify and change harmful thought patterns that may be contributing to your emotional distress. They are equipped with resources to address this and will help you find a way through. They can teach you techniques to challenge negative thoughts and replace them with more positive and realistic ones.

2 - Learn Coping Skills

Therapists can teach you coping skills to manage stress, anxiety, and other emotional challenges. This can also be in combination with medication for a better outcome.

3 - Provide a safe space to talk

Therapy can help when you need a safe space to say what's on your mind. Sometimes these thoughts are difficult to process and the basis of where they come from are unknown to you. A therapist can help you put words to your situation and help put the pieces of the puzzle together.

4 - Process Trauma or Grief

Therapy can provide a safe and supportive space for individuals to process trauma or grief. A therapist can help you work through difficult emotions related to a traumatic event or loss and provide tools to help you cope with the aftermath.

5 - Develop Self-Awareness

Therapy can help you develop greater self-awareness, which can lead to a better understanding of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. This can help you make positive changes in your life and improve your overall well-being.


Deciding whether to seek therapy or life coaching ultimately depends on individual needs and goals. If you are struggling with mental health issues or past trauma, therapy may be the best course of action to address and heal these issues. On the other hand, if you are seeking guidance in setting and achieving specific goals, such as career advancement or personal growth, life coaching may be a more appropriate option. It is important to also consider the qualifications and approach of the therapist or coach you choose, as well as your own personal comfort level with each approach. Ultimately, seeking professional support is a courageous step towards improving your overall well-being and achieving a more fulfilling life.

If you are looking for personal counselling in Montreal, contact Mind-Body Life Coach, Maria Caruana. We offer a variety of private and group coaching and wellness services to help you gain control of your life. Call and tell us how we can help today!

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