People chose to go to therapy for all kinds of reasons. Deciding to see a therapist does not mean that a person is “crazy” nor weak-willed.
Psychotherapy is a “talking cure” that aims to help the client make sense of his/her feelings and experiences by working through the fears and concerns with the guidance of a trained clinician.
Seeing a therapist means that there is an issue or situation that you are having difficulty resolving in a satisfactory manner on your own. The world we live in and the relationships we have are complex and often contradictory. As therapists, we seek to understand your issues in the context of your unique experience rather than viewing you as having something wrong or being broken. With this perspective, we assist you to accomplish your goals.
Why a Therapist and Not Just a “Life Coach”?
For many reasons, seeing a “life coach” seems more acceptable than a therapist. However, it is important to seek coaching from a trained behavioral health clinician, even if you are not seeking more traditional psychotherapy services. It is important that a coach has the knowledge base and skills to effectively address any issues that may come up in coaching, and this can only be assured by seeing a licensed behavioral health provider.
Licensed therapists have the skills and educational background to assess individuals and determine an appropriate course of treatment. Unless they are licensed therapists who are maintaining their credentials, Life Coaches most likely do not have these skills or clinical background.
A cursory internet search will provide you with ample life coaching sites where people claim to be “Certified” and having received “training” that enables them to call themselves coaches. It is important to note that there is NO local or national licensing requirement to be credentialed or certified as a coach. The “training” conducted within the coaching industry, tends to consist of 40 hours of teleconferenced “classes”, with NO prerequisites, admission criteria, graduation requirements.
Therapists are state licensed helping professionals. Psychotherapists, a general term commonly used to refer to Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LSCW), Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors (LCPC), psychologists (Ph.D. or PsyD), and psychiatrists (MD or DO), are licensed to provide their services. Licensing requirements vary by state, but as an LCSW, I completed a Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW), two years supervised clinical work, passed two licensing exams, and take 30 hours of approved continuing education every two years.