More About Counselling & Life Coaching
Developed by Dr. David Burns, MD adjunct professor at Stanford University, world renown psychiatrist, and best selling author. TEAM. is a cutting-edge, evidence based method for the treatment of depression, anxiety, troubled relationships, habits/addiction and more. It draws heavily on the techniques of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) adding the warmth of empathy and the powerful effectiveness of agenda setting (making sure the client is ready for change). This approach focuses on rapid change to bring about the results you desire in a safe environment. TEAM is being used by thousands of therapists and life coaches around the world because it has been proven more effective than other models because we use any tool that works from any modality of therapy. We don't limit ourselves to one favourite tool or specialty.
- T - testing: Rapid, reliable session-by-session assessment of both symptoms and therapeutic relationship
- E - empathy: Accurate, compassionate understanding of your unique problem or situation
- A - agenda Setting: Pinpoint resistance, boost motivation, figure out what is getting in the way of change
- M - Methods: cognitive techniques, behavioral, interpersonal tools, psycho-dynamic, exposure techniques, and 50+ more including ANY of those listed below including the life coaching tools. In fact, in T.E.A.M. any tool in psychology can be used. (Note: not all methods are appropriate for life coaching or video sessions.)
When we get bogged down with one thing it has a ripple effect. Dealing with that one thing can often unravel the self-defeating beliefs that get us stuck. TEAM works because it combines the best of several disciplines. Coaching/therapy 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.
First, it provides structure and focus vital for recovery and/or goal accomplishment. Often we can’t see the forest for the trees and this approach provides a safe environment to just stop, look, and listen to our inner voice. If we don’t like what that voice is saying, we can provide a way to rewrite your own destiny.
Secondly, coaching and TEAM-CBT 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/therapy gets right down to the specific needs you have.
Thirdly, it is a team approach, just as the acronym implies. No one person has all the answers. I'm not the expert, I'm here to guide you to your own solutions. We work together as a team. TEAM takes the expertise of the coach/therapist and combines it 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 good coaching/therapy does.
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 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.
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. 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.
Both counselling and life coaching use many techniques that overlap. 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 intended to help a client find clarity and move forward.
Both coaching and counselling work with a client:
- on personal growth
- dealing with life challenges
- building better relationships
- dealing with current painful emotions
- moving past trauma and working through grief
- work through road blocks to success
- discovering life purpose or a career path
- moving on past a loss or unhealthy relationship (after it has already ended)
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 legal matters where coaching and counselling diverge.
Counselling can get into deeper issues. There are certain tools and techniques used by therapists that should not be used by coaches. 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 generally emotionally well adjusted and functioning in most areas of their lives 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.
Counselling sessions also have a legal* confidentiality protection that can 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. However, know this, I will protect your privacy 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. Some help on which way to go:
- If you are in Canada I recommend counselling where we can use tools from both life coaching and counselling.. Likewise, if your emotions are intense, or are you are having trouble functioning at some level, coaching may not be right for you. If you are struggling with very severe depression, active suicidal thoughts, OCD, eating disorder, or severe mental illness/disorder, therapy may be a better option. If during intake I feel you need more than the scope of my practice I'll refer to you see a therapist in your local area.
- Book a free 15 minute session to discuss it furthur.
*NOTE: Information above varies in different countries. At this time coaching is not regulated in ANY country that I am currently aware of. BUT this article/page is by no means legal or medical advice.