Understand the differences between coaching and psychotherapy

When we talk about the process of going to a professional who is dedicated to caring for people to help them better manage their emotions and/or behaviors, it is relatively common to confuse the notions of “coaching” and “psychotherapy”.

However, not knowing how to distinguish between the two goes beyond mere confusion of technical terms, and can even be harmful and lead to problems, as we will see later. So let’s see what are the concrete differences between psychotherapy and coaching.

Know how to distinguish between psychotherapy and coaching

These are the main aspects that will help you know the difference between psychotherapy and coaching if you are considering using this type of service.

1. Psychotherapy can only be offered by psychologists

The first difference, and perhaps the most important, is that the practice of psychotherapy carried out by psychotherapists is a regulated practice and can only be legally offered by specialist psychologists and/or other duly accredited health professionals. through university training and registration in official entities such as the COP (in Spain). On the other hand, coaching in general is not regulated, and practically anyone, with or without training, can offer this type of service, which is problematic. However, keep in mind that many psychologists offer both psychotherapy and coaching; in these cases, there is a guarantee that the professional is trained in the science of behavior.

So Coaching training is much less complex than psychotherapist trainingsince the latter must have at least a Baccalaureate or License of 4 or 5 years (depending on the country) and post-graduate training, while there are coaching courses open to all and lasting only a few weeks.

2. Psychotherapy focuses its scope on mental health

Typically, psychotherapists are primarily psychologists or medical specialists, who base most of their work on caring for patients with some form of discomfort. In many cases, this discomfort takes the form of a diagnosable disorder (and as such is described in textbooks used in clinical psychology and psychiatry, such as the DSM-5 or ICD-11), and in d Other cases do not become psychopathologies, but they are also a reason to start a therapy process (for example, a couple crisis, extreme shyness, etc.).

On the other hand, coaching does not apply as a form of treatment for psychological disorders, and indeed, if someone offers this type of service to intervene in this type of problem without being accredited in the field of psychotherapy, c is declarable as a form of work intrusion. So Coaching applies primarily to needs that are not mentioned as a source of discomfortbut rather as personal or professional development needs: desire to acquire leadership skills, interest in learning self-motivation techniques to prepare for exams, etc.

4. Psychotherapy has more specific action protocols

As the psychological intervention offered by psychotherapists is aimed at mental health problems, this type of procedure is more standardized, trying to follow a control of what is done to adapt to the strategies and techniques that have proven effective on the basis of scientific research. On the other hand, coaching, if it is understood as a practice practiced by people who do not necessarily have training in psychotherapy, it has no such control criteria the effectiveness of what is being done.

5. Coaching has an important deployment in the field of business

In practice, a large part of the coaching processes offered to clients they have to do with the field of professional performance. Thus, several of the main branches of coaching are executive coaching, focused on helping mid- and high-profile companies (CEOs, Department Managers, etc.) by strengthening their communication and leadership skills; sports coaching, offered to professional or semi-professional athletes; or team coaching, which applies to departments or groups that often work hand in hand on a daily basis, to help them communicate better with each other, resolve conflicts before they escalate, self-motivate, etc.

Are you looking for assistance services in psychotherapy or coaching?

If you are interested in starting a psychological therapy or a coaching process, contact us.

In Advanced Psychologists We have a team of mental health professionals and accredited psychologists working in the fields of psychotherapy, sexology, neuropsychology, psychiatry and coaching. We offer you our experience of more than 20 years in the sector and the most effective techniques and strategies according to your problems or needs.

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