What’s the Difference between Coaching and Counseling?
When new clients call seeking help with counseling, we are often asked ‘Coaching vs. Counseling, what is the difference?’. It is important to clarify the difference between the two and explain how both options are beneficial to helping couples and individuals improve their relationships. At Married Life Coaching & Counseling, we put a lot of thought into the services we provide to our clients. For this reason, we offer both marriage counseling and marriage coaching services. As you read, I will share my overall vision for our practice and explain how a need for offering coaching came about at Married Life.
Married Life’s Goals
Our main motivation at Married Life to offer coaching and counseling side-by-side was to remove some of the negative stereotypes that clients, oftentimes men, might apply to counseling and therapy. Much of the work we are doing with couples really is coaching each partner to identify, validate and share their emotions. We don’t want folks with bad counseling experiences or impressions to shy away from getting help to improve their relationships. Our hope is that more and more folks will see the benefits and strengths of counseling. Benefits include improving mental health, personal well being, relationships and family dynamics and removing any negative connotations. We encourage our clients to talk about their counseling experiences to normalize the process and encourage others to engage. There’s no sense in struggling alone and hurting yourself and others to protect your pride!
Men and Counseling
Men, in particular, are generally more averse to seeking counseling. Multiple studies and experience demonstrate that women pursue and engage counseling more often than men. I imagine the rationale is related to the common tendency for men to avoid routine medical exams and care. It seems the belief that men should be tough and not have or share emotions is still a very prevalent phenomenon. I’m not going to suggest that men can’t be tough and strong- but I do wonder why we believe they should be that way all the time. Aren’t we all human? Jesus himself cried and expressed fear! Sadly, men are much more likely to die by suicide, overdose and addiction related issues. The other issue that I’m sure contributes to fewer men seeking counseling is that the field of counseling is highly dominated by women. The American Psychological Association found in 2013 that women made up about 68% of the psychology workforce. So even if a man decides it’s time to go to counseling, it’s harder to find a male therapist to connect with.
Check out Man Therapy
I love this website Man Therapy addressing this topic and inviting men to address their mental health needs. They offer a “20-point Head Inspection” for free to explore areas that you can improve your mental health as well as a plethora of humorous videos to destigmatize therapy for men.
Coaching vs. Counseling
At Married Life, first and foremost we want to broaden the availability of men helping men. I don’t believe only licensed counselors can provide good care. The coaches we hire have extensive counseling training, life experience, and passion to help couples and individuals find thriving lifestyles and relationships.
Some benefits to working with coaches are being able to work across state lines and have less regulations by state boards or government. On the flip side, coaches are unable to diagnose mental illness and clients cannot use insurance to reimburse the cost of sessions. If you are looking specifically for a diagnosis, you should work with a licensed clinical counselor. Coaches are not required to maintain licensure standards and continuing education as counselors do. Therefore, their rates are typically lower. While coaches in general are not required to keep licensures credentialed by continuing education, our coaches have obtained or are pursuing continually life coaching, counseling, and couples therapy certifications. While coaches tend to be more future focused and counselors tend to look more into the past, at Married Life our coaches and counselors will do a little of both to help you heal from the past, move forward and achieve your goals.
Counselors have training and experience more specialized to addressing mental illness and are trained to diagnose and treat using research validated interventions. Counselors must earn continuing education credits and reapply for licensure every two years so they are more highly regulated by the state. At Married Life, we tend to be “non-pathologizing”. This means we are more likely to address core human needs and relationship dynamics as the root of suffering than to apply a diagnosis. Our counselors are able to provide a diagnosis, when needed, to pursue medications and specific treatment modalities to improve quality of life.
What our Coaches and Counselors have in common
Our team at Married Life Coaching and Counseling share a passion for marriage and family relationships. We recognize the number one factor of people finding success in counseling is the connection and rapport they have with their counselor. As a team of men and women, we collaborate weekly to help each other address the special and unique needs of couples. We share resources and training, and address our own unique personal and relationship needs. We practice what we preach by being aware of our own imperfections. Our work with you is not “top down” as if you are a problem to fix. Relationships are often difficult and we want you to know you’re not alone. So don’t be surprised if you hear a personal example from your coach or counselor here and there to help you on your journey.
Our coaches and counselors alike adhere to HIPAA standards protecting your confidentiality and keep notes and files secure using Simple Practice for our electronic health records. Everyone on our team is working to provide understanding of your unique situation, empathy to validate the challenges, accountability week by week to keep you moving forward, and helping you identify the emotional responses that are driving behaviors. Additionally, as coaches and counselors, we have received or are pursuing Emotionally Focused Therapy training. Find out more about the research validating EFT as the “gold standard” for couples counseling here: EFT Research
Meet our Team
At Married Life, we want to provide coaching and counseling to best serve our clients. Currently, our staff includes Christie Orosz a licensed clinical counselor and Matt Smith a certified marriage and relationship coach. You can read more about our team and their specialties by checking out our team page on our website. If you have any questions regarding working with a counselor versus a coach, please give us a call at 234-303-2325. You can also schedule a 15-minute consultation with Matt Smith, to ask questions and feel more at ease. We hope to hear from you soon!