What is the difference between what you do and what coaches do?

An advantage of working with a psychologist over a coach is that a psychologist can work in the present moment with a client and at the same time listen for and able to work with the client on the unconscious and/or old source of patterns and beliefs that have become dysfunctional or destructive. Many psychologists like me are trained to increase a client’s insight into unconscious patterns that cause them suffering.

A coach is not required to have years of training and supervision. Licensed psychologists in the state of California have at least 3,000 hours of supervised experience, at least 3 years of graduate school classes and are legally obligated to follow a strict code of ethics.

It is sometimes is said that coaches work with people who want to have better lives but who don’t have pathology, but psychologists work with people who have something wrong with them. While this may have had some basis in fact at one time, it is no longer true. With the advent of Positive Psychology, many psychologists, including myself, find it much more empowering for clients to work from and build their strengths in therapy. It is one of the most healing and educational things my clients and I do together.

What works in therapy?

Virtually all of the research data looking into what helps clients most in therapy indicates that it is the strength of the working relationship between the client and the therapist which makes therapy successful. The most important factor in psychotherapy being a success is the quality of fit between a client and therapist (how comfortable a client feels when sitting down with his or her therapist).

It’s important that you genuinely feel your therapist can relate to you and give you meaningful feedback. Because of this, I offer a free 20 minute consultation for people wishing to explore if we might work well together.

When I first practiced as a coach before I was trained as a psychologist, I could listen. I could help my clients come up with plans for approaching their work and lives differently. I did not have the knowledge and experience for helping a person work with their past and present to change their emotional reactions in the present. I also didn’t have the training to work with the subconscious processes that profoundly affect all aspects of our lives. The more I learned about working with people in a depth-oriented way, I realized that I could be most helpful to people who want to feel better about their lives and jobs if I trained as a licensed psychologist. Coaches are not experts in helping people change emotional patterns, licensed therapists are.

How is going to therapy different from getting advice from people I know?

The point of psychotherapy is not advice. Part of what might be bringing you to treatment is that you’ve become lost in advice and can’t sort out your next steps. The last thing you need is another person’s advice. The goal of treatment is for you to rediscover your own voice, your own priorities, and the courage and discernment to act on what is right for you and the life you want to live. The first step for many people in therapy is to figure out what they want from their life and from themselves.

Do you have to dig through your whole past if you want to get help in therapy?

In most cases, it is possible to address painful challenges without digging through the distant past. If a person’s past is causing them pain in the present, the current problems can be addressed more directly with a non-judgmental understanding of how the person came to this moment and how they make meaning.

Do you work with other issues besides work stress?

Other questions?

Do you have other questions about therapy? Contact me.
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