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What’s the Difference Between Life Coaching, Counselling and Therapy?

Which is Best for You?

counseling, lifecoaching or psychotherapy


Whatever challenges you are facing from day to day, each therapy approach has certain strengths and limitations attached to it.


Here are some useful pointers to help you better understand the differences between counselling, coaching and psychotherapy.



What is Life Coaching?

Life coaching focuses directly on identifying what you wish to achieve in the present and future. Coaches help you identify manageable goals and set tasks you can undertake to achieve your goals. Coaches tend to use a combination of enquiry, diagrams and exercises, to help you understand problem areas and identify ways to overcome them. People can find the visual and active elements of coaching helpful. If you are highly motivated and the problems you face are practical, business or career concerns, coaching can be very effective.

Coaching can be limited in its ability to help you tackle more deep rooted problems. Coaching training does not cover the influence of our past history (a coaching qualification can be obtained in 1-6 months) and therefore, some coaches try to encourage clients past a problem, through active strategies, which are not always effective. The problem here, is when you do not understand the value of a problematic habit fully, you tend to keep on using it, even if you don’t want to. Where coaching alone can fall short, counselling and psychotherapy can provide that extra help, to understand and get through stubborn problems. To learn more about life coaching at KlearMinds check out our Life Coaching page.


What is Counselling or Psychotherapy?

Both counselling and psychotherapy are often referred to as talking therapies. This is because, the therapist uses a combination of questions, reflections and summaries which enable you to obtain a clearer understanding of the challenges you face and to uncover more effective ways of addressing them.

There are several different types of talking therapy. Some have a strong past and present focus, for example, psychodynamic, psychoanalytic or person centred therapies. During these meetings, the client does most of the talking and the therapist provides summaries and/or interpretations which help build awareness. It is assumed that through awareness change emerges. Some people find these approaches spend too much time focusing on the past in the work and would prefer more future focus and active strategies for their lives now, the therapies below have more of this element.

Other psychotherapies, such as Solution Focussed Therapy, Gestalt, Transactional Analysis (TA) or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) have additional proactive elements and include a stronger future focus, similar to coaching. Here suggestions, exercises and experiments are also used. TA and CBT also include a psycho-educational element and when combined with developmental theory, they can provide you with a very helpful understanding of why you feel and behave certain ways. Armed with this information you can begin to tackle difficult feelings more effectively and move more actively towards achieving your current and future goals.

To learn more about different therapy approaches we use click here Our Therapies.

Meet Our Qualified Therapists

Maggie Morrow

Judy Harrison

Amanda Reynolds

Andrea Tibbitts

What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?

Historically, counselling trainings were shorter and less in-depth compared to psychotherapy. So counselling was viewed as an intervention that was helpful with lighter problems but a counsellor was not equipped to deal with more complex issues. Today, the difference between counselling and psychotherapy is not so great, as counselling trainings have become more rigorous. When choosing a counsellor or psychotherapist, it is a good idea to look at the length and quality of training the therapist has undertaken. At minimum, I recommend you choose a therapist with at least 3 years training. Someone with 5-7 years will be more informed. To learn more about counselling and psychotherapy at KlearMinds click: Counselling or Psychotherapy.


Integrating Life Coaching, Counselling & Psychotherapy

At KlearMinds, we discovered the best approach to helping people make the changes they want in their lives, is to use a combination of life coaching, counselling and psychotherapy. We find this to be a more flexible and powerful way to help you effect more lasting change, than can be achieved through a single therapy approach alone. We believe each individual has a unique way of learning and it is the therapy that needs to be tailored to the individual, not that the individual should adapt to the therapy approach. You’ve had enough adapting to go through in childhood! We provide more detail below about how these different approaches can help you.
You can find out more information about how we approach helping people make the changes they want, by reading the KlearMinds Therapy Approach.


What is Psychology / A Psychologist?

There are a variety of specialists in the field of psychology, ranging from research to health or business psychology. Not all psychologists are trained to provide therapy. Therefore, if you are seeking therapy for emotional difficulties, I recommend Counselling Psychologists as the most appropriate specialists from this field. They are trained in a number of therapies most often, psychodynamic, CBT and person centred. The approach of a counselling psychologist will be similar to that of a psychotherapist who has trained in a range of therapies.


What is Therapy?

Therapy is a word used to refer to many interventions aimed at improving peoples overall wellbeing, both body and mind. When referring to therapy for our mind it usually means some form of counselling or psychotherapy. These approaches aim to help you tackle emotional and psychological challenges and to achieve your personal goals. Through a process of conversation, questions, exercises and experiments, they can help you expand your understanding of problems and identify effective ways to deal with them. Each approach uses some similar and some different methods. All approaches aim to be encouraging and supportive. Psychology is a broader field which is not always therapeutic, this is explained further below.


Questions About Counselling, Life Coaching or Psychotherapy

If you would like to ask us any questions about the type of therapy that could suit you best, feel free to contact us and we will be pleased to answer your quereies. If we cannot help you we may be able to recommend someone who can.

Therapy at KlearMinds in London

We have a team of highly experienced life coaches, counsellors and psychotherapists who have helped hundreds of people achieve successful outcomes. Our offices are located in London City, Liverpool Street and Kensington. If you are ready to change your life for the better contact us today, why wait?


Written By

This page was written by Maggie Morrow (MSc, BSc, Adv Dip, UKCP) and medically reviewed in March 2021.

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