Is a therapist a life coach?

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A therapist can help coach you, but life coaches are not therapists. Therapists receive much more training on psychological needs and processes. 

Life coaches have become popular in recent years and sometimes can be confused with a mental health therapist — especially because some life coaches are former therapists and counselors. Coaching and therapy do overlap because they both aim to help people live better, more fulfilled lives. But they have different approaches and certification requirements.

  • Life coaches are more goal-oriented and focused on the future. They give you emotional support, motivation, and strategies on how to build your confidence and create a better life for yourself. For example, if you’re looking to create a successful business, you may hire a life coach who specializes in helping entrepreneurs. Therapists and counselors mainly examine your emotional wellbeing and help you to understand your thoughts and behaviors. Many times, mental health professionals look more towards the past to help you understand your future. For example, if you’re stressed out from trying to create a successful business, a therapist might help you understand how you manage your stress and work with you to change your habits and create more work-life balance.
  • Life coaches have no required licensing or degrees, so the industry is not regulated. But many life coaches do get certified through the International Coaching Federation. Therapists and counselors usually have at least a master’s degree in psychology, counseling, or social work and are licensed in the state they reside or work in. Therapists are required to continue their education and learn new things every year. Therapists are also overseen by a board that can ensure they follow certain professional and ethical guidelines. 

Overall, life coaches help to enhance your life while therapists and counselors help you to heal your life, understand yourself, and grow as a person.

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