Mental Health Therapy is a Broad Term and Somewhat Hard to Define.
Mental health conditions that need therapy are feeling states that make functioning in your job or your relationship difficult. That may include depression, excessive anxiety, or more extreme conditions such as personality or mental disorders. A combination of traditional therapy and medical intervention may reduce or relieve these symptoms. Relieved means better mental clarity and emotional balance so a person can maintain job and family responsibilities.
Traditional therapy is talking to a trained and licensed therapist about the things that are contributing to your depression, anxiety or unhappiness. Often relief is found and answers discovered by simply talking about them to a non-judgmental listener. (I highly recommend Dr. Nancy deAndrade!) Traditional therapy is often combined with medical interventions. Schizophrenia or psychosis or extreme paranoia need medical interventions. Disappointment sometimes occurs when people go to a traditional therapist for problems that require new skills.
Coaching is Teaching Skills That Improve a Particular Aspect of Life.
Broadly, coaching can be called behavior modification. For instance, when exercise is foreign to you, a coach may teach and motivate until exercising becomes a habit that you enjoy.
When her last child left home, my mother took up painting. She joined a class with a teacher that taught her color theory, design and techniques. She maintained participation with that coach until she became quite skilled at painting still lifes and landscapes.
There are multiple organizations that “coach” persons into better eating habits that produce weight loss. Weight Watchers is only one of such “coaching” organizations.
Marriage Coaching is Different Than Therapy
Without exception, every couple who comes to me complains about their need to communicate better. Good communication is the result of a few skills that are learned and consistently practiced. Those skills will not be learned by telling a therapist about your marriage frustrations or how bad you feel about fighting all of the time. Neither will communication improve by digging into your childhood to unearth needs that were not met.
Coaching is Behavior Change Oriented
Coaching does include a brief look at the relationship and communication methods modeled in their homes of origin. It is helpful to see how a pattern of fighting, criticism or emotional withdrawal got started. But then we quickly move into learning healthier communication methods and emotional management that deliver healthier, happier relationships. The point of coaching is to replace poor methods with successful methods. Coaching focusses on better behaviors that give you better results!
Many of my former couples had previously been to one or more therapists for help with their marriage issues. Some found temporary relief from being able to voice their frustrations with a neutral party. Few, however, found lasting solutions to issues that recurred with increasing frustration.
Recently while learning how to have a Skilled Discussion, a client exclaimed, “I’ve had lots of therapy. This is nothing like therapy! Therapy is boring…just sitting there talking. Here we’re actually learning how to do something better!”
Therapy and Coaching Are Both Useful
There is definitely a place for therapy as well as for coaching but for different needs and outcomes. Therapy targets individual improvement and growth. It also combines with pharmaceuticals to rebalance chemistry. A couple times in my history I’ve been greatly helped by an antidepressant. When my marriage was experiencing constant fighting and disrespect, however, we didn’t need a pill. We needed to learn different communication and anger management skills!
It was almost magical how quickly our problems were resolved and peace restored when those skills were put into operation! Many of the couples I coach find quick, substantial improvement in their happiness with each other as they implement a few simple skills.
Is This Education or a Sales Pitch?
I think this newsletter is education about the difference between therapy and coaching. It is also a sales pitch for getting effective coaching if that is what your relationship needs! If you are suffering from anxiety or depression that makes every day a nightmare to endure, I am the first to send you to a doctor for medication and perhaps a therapist. But if your relationship is plagued by misunderstandings, frequent fights and emotional distance, I can help you. Several clients have called my coaching as simple as a paint-by-numbers system.
Millionaire Marriage Club gives you seven days to explore the eight modules that teach specific skills guaranteed to improve your relationships. Scroll down to the “FREE TRIAL” in pink to enroll. If you want another way to explore this option, order How to Stay Married & Love It! the book written by Jim and me about the skills that enabled us to save our marriage. A third option is to listen to any of the fifty-two episodes of Relationship Rehab Show where I share all the skills and concepts that transformed my life from unhappy and frustrating to happy and functional!
You have my love and support,