Though individual video conferencing, or in person, I use an integrative, client-centered, cognitive approach using T.E.A.M., an evidenced-based model by Dr. David Burns. My model includes person centered, CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy), faith and spiritual work, nutrition and other lifestyle choices for optimal health, and many life coaching techniques. This approach works well for specific problems such as: depression, anxiety, relationship problems, addictions, procrastination, unmanaged stress, and working through painful emotions, as well as for personal growth, health and wellness goals, developing coping skills, and exploring one's life purpose.
This style does not work well with those looking for a traditional model such as: looking at their past in great detail, dream interpretation, those hoping to change their external environment rather than themselves, or those unwilling to put effort into the process.
How to get started! Book a 15 minute online consultation (please make sure you have good internet, web cam, and a private location). Summarize your primary issue/goal when booking. After the consultation, if we feel it's a good fit, you can book an intake session and I will send you an intake form which needs to be completed before the intake session. During intake we will talk about your needs and personal history. After the intake, if you choose, we can enter into either a life coaching or a counselling relationship and you can book your first therapy/coaching session with me.
Angela Poch, CLC, CN, dip. APC (Diploma in Applied Psychology & Counselling), and I am a Certified Master Life Coach (certificates in: health, CBT, relationships, happiness, goal success & life purpose), Certified Nutritionist, TEAM Counsellor & Faith-based Therapist.
Counselling deals with your current mental state but also works on personal growth, relationships, and positive life choices. The CPA states: "Counselling psychology is a broad specialization within professional psychology concerned with using psychological principles to enhance and promote the positive growth, well-being, and mental health of individuals, families, groups, and the broader community. Counselling psychologists bring a collaborative, developmental, multicultural, and wellness perspective to their research and practice. They work with many types of individuals, including those experiencing distress and difficulties associated with life events and transitions, decision-making, work/career/education, family and social relationships, and mental health and physical health concerns. In addition to remediation, counselling psychologists engage in prevention, psychoeducation and advocacy".
Counselling can be done in many different ways. My approach to counselling is similar to how I do life coaching. Our sessions are held online using a secure video conferencing platform. Materials may be shared online or I may mail you relevant handouts or books. Sessions are generally 60 minutes and we work on what is affecting you most in that moment or on goals we set in previous sessions with the TEAM model and other tools I use here.
Coaching is a process of working through goals and challenges as defined by the client. Coaching is all about moving toward a specific goal working through challenges that may impede that process. We may also add an educational component as well, depending on your needs. As a certified life coach, I use CBT (cognitive behaviour techniques) and the TEAM model in my coaching practice.
In one-on-one sessions we work together, creating solutions to life problems or goals in a peer-like relationship. These can be related to all manner of life: diet, exercise & other health goals, building great relationships, finding true happiness, discovering your life purpose, working on stress management, developing general coping skills (including moving past anxiety, sadness, guilty, and other painful emotions), and much more. Coaching is not meant to assess or treat specific mental illnesses/disorders or work through past events*.
*While life coaching is not the same as therapy, there is an amazing healing that can take place when working on the present. Fractal theory states life has infinite patterns that are broken into small segments. Deal with one tiny part of the pattern and you can change the whole picture.
We already mentioned fractal theory. I’m no expert in that field, I’m simply reusing some concepts taught by Dr. David Burns, but I have witnessed the evidence for this theory in just about every person and relationship I’ve encountered. When we get bogged down with one thing in our life journey it has a ripple effect on the rest of our life. Dealing with that one thing can often unravel the self-defeating beliefs that get us stuck. Coaching works because it combines the best of several disciplines. But besides that philosophical look at things there are three more reasons coaching is effective.
First, it provides structure and focus which is vital for goal formation and accomplishment. Often we can’t see the forest for the trees and coaching provides a safe environment to just stop, look, and listen to our inner voice. If we don’t like what that voice is saying, coaching can provide a way to rewrite your own destiny and self-talk.
Secondly, coaching allows for variety while getting specific. Many self-help programs are rigid and don’t provide room for particular challenges you may face. One-on-one coaching gets right down to the specific needs you have and how to fill those needs with the tools you have in your reach.
Thirdly, coaching is a team approach. No one has all the answers. We need doctors, psychologists, researchers, fitness experts, and other health professionals for various purposes. But if anyone has the solutions to the problems you face, it’s you! Coaching takes the expertise of the coach and combines them with the client’s conscience and unconscious skills, desires, and solutions. Did you know you often have the answers you need within yourself? So how do you unlock them? That’s what coaching does. Often we can’t see solutions until we process information by having a dialog with someone else that has experience in that area.
Coaching works because it gives you the focus to make specific goals that are real and attainable, it empowers you to accomplish those goals through education and skill development, all the while helping you work through the challenges that impede the success of goal attainment.
Coaching is generally a fun, light hearted, and positive experience. But there are times when moments are more serious, even somber as you work through some challenge that is holding you back. I start off with getting a base line on where you are currently at using a Life Inventory worksheet and a Mood Inventory worksheet as well as a full intake session. We use the TEAM model and then we sit down together, going step-by-step through questions that will enable you to make SMART goals as well as use other techniques as needed to help you get where you want to be. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timed. We use SMART goals because when we can identify goals like this, we know when they are accomplished.
Sessions will include starting with where you are at right now, where you want to be, specific goal formation to get there, working out how to reach those goals, identifying potential challenges, and help to meet those issues. All this is done using discussion, questions, worksheets, relevant sources of information, and feedback.
Both counselling and life coaching use a variety of techniques that overlap so it can seem a bit confusing. Both coaches and counsellors have a variety of training but coaches can practice just about anywhere without any education at all. Coaches can choose to getting training from weekend courses, to accredited certification or even a diploma. Counsellors also range in education from certificate level to PhD’s. Education is helpful, and I would say vital, but skill is not depended on academics. There are counsellors with 1 year of education that are as effective as those with an 8 year doctorate. In fact one Ph.D. said he doesn't use most of the education from his 8 years but rather the training he received from TEAM. Both coaches and therapists do general work or they can choose to specialize. Both coaches and therapist's have a varied methodology as to the tools they use. Some counsellors work more like coaches, while others use more traditional forms of therapy. Interestingly, how a session looks will vary from life coach to life coach, but it varies even more from therapists to therapist. Both are supportive roles to help a client find clarity and move forward.
When you search the internet for the difference between coaching and counselling you'll often see it stated, usually by coaches, that counselling focuses on the past and coaching on the future, and other arbitrary lists of differences. But counselling is very much about moving a person forward, and there are many therapists that do little deep diving into ones past, but focus on current issues. After doing research here's what I've come up with. It is the role of the relationship and in legal matters is where coaching and counselling diverge.
Counselling is often gets more in depth emotionally, and the sessions are more serious. There are certain tools and techniques used by therapists that should not be used by coaches, such as those needed in cases where the client is in deep distress, suffering from mental illness, or has a deeply rooted issue. Coaching is NEVER used to diagnose or treat any illness, physical or mental (interestingly neither can most therapist's unless they have a Ph.D., depending on the country). Counsellors are trained to work with those dealing with mental illness and/or those who are not functioning or barely functioning, whereas coaches should only accept individuals who are emotionally well and highly functioning but are dealing with specific challenges. The biggest difference between them is the relationship of client and practitioner and how much help the client needs. Life coaching is a flexible, unregulated relationship that should not attempt to help those with serious issues.
In most countries there are no legal restrictions* on life coaching. On the other hand in many countries*, counselling is highly regulated and rules vary. Thus, if you are not in Canada, or live in the province of Ontario, Quebec, or Nova Scotia, I can only provide life coaching services. There is a code of ethics that counsellors must subscribe to including how they interact with clients during and between sessions. In life coaching the coach and client can have a relationship outside of the session, as such coaches can work among their peers, co-workers, and even friends and family. Although I recommend against working with those too close to you as it can cloud your view or cause unforeseen issues. A therapist-client relationship is far more guarded and it is inappropriate, unethical, many times illegal, to work with co-workers, business associates, friends, or family, or to develop a relationship with a client post-therapy within a certain period of time (can be years in some states/countries).
Counselling sessions also have a legal* confidentiality protection that can usually only be broken by a subpoena, suspect of current child/elder abuse, or if there is danger of immediate harm - suicide/homicide. Life coaching is generally not protected under the same laws as counselling, which all vary from country to country. However, I will protect your privacy and confidentiality, as far as I am able, even in a coaching relationship.
It can be confusing since there are many similarities between coaching and counselling. They both can be very effective in helping clients with personal growth and better coping skills. Some help on which way to go:
*NOTE: The definitions and information above may be different in different countries, i.e. some countries do not prevent unlicensed counsellors from practicing while in other countries counselling is highly regulated. At this time coaching is not regulated in ANY country that I am aware of. This article is by no means legal advice.