LittleBird Coaching

Coaching vs. Therapy

Kingfisher sits on branch

Coaching and therapy have similar goals: to help someone address their belief systems, behavior patterns, responses, habits, and coping mechanisms, with the ultimate hope of changing their outlook on life. Both coaches and therapists listen to a client’s life experiences, help the client make sense of them, and support the client as he or she explores how they want to live moving forward.  

Coaches and therapists will also both likely have suggestions for behavioral/thinking changes that will help them feel better. And both coaches and therapists will support a client as s/he learns to make new decisions moving forward.  ​Therapists take on a medical model approach to care, and coaches demonstrate a support model.

Coaches are a great part of a client's mental health team.  Like personal trainers, they encourage a client to set and achieve personal goals that related to recovering from trauma and life setbacks. 

 

In trauma recovery coaching, clients have often experienced a lifetime of normalizing disconnection from both self and others.  Many clients are isolated from family and support people and therefore continue to live in a state of disconnection.  Coaches provide a healthy relationship space for clients and an opportunity, over time, for clients to reconnect with others, and ultimately, themselves.  ​

In a general sense:​

  • Coaching is a collaboratively-based approach where the coach and the  client work together as a team.  

  • Coaches do not operate from a traditional medical model.  We do not treat or diagnose mental health illnesses.  We do not see their clients as broken or in need of fixing. We approach our clients as individuals having a normal reaction to an abnormal experience.

  • Coaches work with clients as equals. We function as guides, mentors and teachers, not superiors.

  • Coaches provide education about trauma to help clients understand and normalize their experiences.

  • Coaches recognize that interpersonal trauma causes individuals to disconnect from themselves, the world and other human beings. We help clients find safe ways to reconnect.

  • Coaches may assign homework or have contact outside of the scheduled appointment

  • Coaches operate from a strength-based mode. We believe that our clients have the capacity to direct their own healing when provided with the necessary support and encouragement.

  • Coaches focus on helping a client build their strengths, healthy beliefs, and positive coping strategies rather than extinguishing “negative” behaviors and beliefs.

  • Coaches model healthy behaviors and beliefs with their clients.  We also model healthy relationship skills to help clients learn how to relate to others and to themselves.

  • Coaches help clients set their recovery goals and they set a path to reaching those goals together.