• Sophie Eloise Kelly

Counselling and Coaching: the difference.

With the current state of things, many people have started to seek out help with their mental health, giving rise to confusion among who is qualified to help with what.

I've been asked a lot about the difference between Psychotherapy, Psychiatry, Counselling, Clinical Psychology etc etc - but the one that's coming up a lot lately is the confusion between a Coach and a Counsellor.

With the rise of the highly annoying 'life-coach-living-in-Bali' Influencer, Coaches have developed a bit of cowboy reputation, but on closer inspection this is often rooted in a mismatch of needs rather than a deficiency with the coaching profession itself. However, with so many people talking about mental health, it is becoming more and more difficult to identify how each discipline can help - and in what way.

SO to simplify it; Counselling is reparative and Coaching is developmental - and often the two will overlap.

A Coach is qualified to offer structured techniques and strategies in order to help you make changes to your life moving forward - whereas a Counsellor is qualified to help work through unhelpful patterns, previous emotional trauma and diagnosed Psychological difficulty.

Sometimes, if you're unhappy or stuck, you may benefit firstly from counselling before coaching will become effective (kind of like cleaning the white board before you start drawing on it again!) - however many can and do benefit greatly from coaching alone.

Counselling training will also often take longer because it requires the practitioner to do extensive personal development (inner work) on their unconscious in order to work safely with complex emotional difficulty. Counsellors are also professionally required to have a supervisor who oversees their caseload and ensures they are practicing ethically and within their competency.

So I hope that makes a bit more sense! I am aware that not everyone wants to - or always needs to go into their past in order to move forward with their future, and I think coaching can be a great option if this is you. However if you're seeking help to process a situation, event or gain an understanding of yourself on a deeper level, a counsellor may be better.

I chose Psychotherapy because I love stories, and the practice is rooted in creating space for someone to write, reflect, understand and edit what they have come to believe about their own lives - before they move forward in new directions. Something which I personally think is very powerful.

At present, the medical model dominates in the U.K., something I think needs to be greatly challenged if we're really serious about tackling such an enormous crisis. No two roads to psychological distress are ever paved the same and mental illness is very custom built - so why do we assume the path to recovery will be not be this way also?

There are many different therapies out there that can soothe and improve our mental health and to me, its quite important that we begin to highlight this and give people the chance to find what will truly work for them.