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What’s the difference between Psychiatry, Therapy and my Coaching?

At particular points in our lives many of us seek the support of a professional with the right skills to help us. There are a number of different helping professions we can turn to when we need to talk to someone. Understanding how Coaching differs from Therapy or Psychiatry can help you to find the right kind of help to suit your needs.


Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have completed a medical degree and can prescribe medication. They are specialists in Psychiatry - the branch of medicine that focuses on diagnosing, preventing and treating mental disorders. There is very little, if any, crossover with the Coaching profession.

An old male psychotherapist takes notes as his client is lying horizontal on the therapist's coach and talking about her issues
Not all psychiatrists and therapists use the traditional couch


Therapy is usually shorthand for Psychotherapy, and includes a number of different strands such as Psychoanalysis and CBT. Therapists are healthcare professionals and therapy is usually a long-term process used to diagnose and resolve dysfunctional beliefs, behaviours and feelings. It often involves focusing on past experiences and traumas to work through painful feelings and thoughts.


Coaching does not involve lying horizontal on a couch, is not usually about healing old wounds, and it's definitely not about treating mental illness (many people with mental ill health work with a coach on other aspects of their life, but the coach is not a health professional and is not trained to treat mental illnesses). It also surprises many people to learn that coaches do not give advice – a coach is not a guru, teacher or adviser.

Coaching is about powerful conversations that support you to move forward in your life, to understand yourself better and to identify strategies that may help you to deal with aspects of your learnt behaviour preventing you from being the person you want to be and doing the things you want to do. Together with the coach you focus the session on your goals and the things you may want to change rather than what might be “wrong with you”.

My Coaching

In other words, coaching can be a short- or long-term approach and tends to be very grounded in the present, which as well as focusing on the future. Importantly, my coaching starts with a neutral idea of your present situation and a belief that you are not broken and do not need mending. Instead, the coaching process supports you to take control of your life and move towards a future state that you want.

Finding the right person to help you

Each of the above professions has a slightly different approach as well as different strengths. I hope this article has given you a bit more information about the differences between the three. My own opinion is that therapy and coaching are more of an art than a science and so two individuals with the same training will help you in very different ways. It's important that you find someone who works for you.

If you would like to learn more about coaching or even to discuss what sortof helping professional might suit your needs best don't hesitate to SEND ME A MESSAGE. Alternatively, if you've decided that coaching seems like the best solution for you then  please go ahead and book a 'TASTER SESSION' right now.

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