Coach, Counselor or Therapist?

Coach, Counselor or Therapist?

by Elena Greco


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What is the difference in coaching, counseling and psychotherapy? And what exactly is a creativity coach?  I’m often asked those questions.

A psychotherapist is someone who helps you with emotional or psychological problems. They often have labels such as social worker, mental health counselor, psychologist and psychiatrist, and are usually, but not always, licensed by a state board.

A counselor is someone who listens to you and offers guidance, usually (but not necessarily) in a specific area of your life.  For example, a pastoral counselor helps you with spiritual or religious issues, and a school counselor helps you with your academic career. They can come from any profession and cover a broad range of areas and techniques.

A coach is a facilitator who helps you reach your potential.  Coaches help and support you in clarifying and achieving your goals in any area AND in overcoming any obstacles to those goals.  In addition, they can serve as a counselor or mentor at times.  For example, a tennis coach might help you improve your swing, suggest ways to get your physique in ideal shape for playing tennis, help you clarify your immediate, interim and ultimate professional goals, use their connections to give you opportunities, refer you to colleagues for specific assistance, and help you with psychological issues that are affecting your performance.

A creativity coach is a coach who helps a creative person with all aspects of their life utilizing special knowledge of the needs and demands of the creative life and personality.  In essence, they’re life coaches who specialize in working with creative people, but have an additional arsenal of tools and an empathy for the creative personality.

If you believe, as I do, that the driver of transformation is consistent action, and that support is an important part of maintaining our mental health, and that you’d like to achieve your potential in life, rather than just talking about it, coaching might be for you!

See Elena’s bios for more information about the author.


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