At B-Stressfree we cover all three areas:

Life Coach vs. Therapist vs Counsellor – What’s The Difference?

When seeking professional help for emotional wellbeing and personal growth, the default option you may think of is therapy; but recently, you may have also heard people talk about working with a life coach or counsellor.


What is therapy? Therapy, also called counseling or psychotherapy, is a long-term process in which a client works with a healthcare professional to diagnose and resolve problematic beliefs, behaviors, relationship issues, feelings and sometimes physical responses. The idea behind therapy is to focus on past traumas and issues to change self-destructive habits, repair and improve relationships and work through painful feelings. In this sense, therapy focuses on the past and on introspection and analysis, with the hope of resolving past issues and creating a happier, more stable future.

What is life coaching? In life coaching, a client works with a coach who is not a healthcare professional to clarify goals and identify obstacles and problematic behaviors in order to create action plans to achieve desired results. The main way that a life coach vs. therapist works is that the life coach takes the client’s current starting point as an acceptable neutral ground and is more action-based from that point onward. A life coach enables the person receiving treatment to take control of their life and take action to steer it toward their goals.


Therapy helps you learn to heal; coaching empowers you to achieve goals

Therapists help clients look to their figurative yesterdays in order to overcome deep-rooted issues, whereas life coaches are there to help you jump off today’s launching point to succeed tomorrow.The skills you learn from a therapist are designed to foster healing from whichever challenge you are facing. Coaching, on the other hand, sets you up with tools to reach bigger dreams or break free if you feel stuck on repeat in your life.

Therapy helps you heal from mental health challenges

In therapy, you will address mental and emotional health challenges you’re facing this by learning therapy techniques.
Life coaching teaches you how to achieve big dreams and/or break free if you feel stuck.
On the other hand, most life coaching focuses on helping you pursue your passions, or break free of stagnation or “stuckness.”With a life coach, you might work on discovering your passions, strategizing a path to achieving them, and building the positive mindset that will empower you to achieve them.

Life coaches are professionals who help you achieve personal or professional goals.

While approaches to life coaching vary, most focus on personal empowerment, motivation, and strategies to define and reach your dreams.

Sound similar to therapy? Here are key differences between life coaching and therapy, and how to choose one over another.

Therapy focuses on mental health; life coaching focuses on goals

The major difference between therapy and life coaching is the focus of the work: therapy focuses on mental health and emotional healing, while life coaching focuses on setting and achieving goals.

While therapists are trained mental health professionals who are in the regulated field of healthcare and require licensure, life coaches do not have mental health training and are not equipped to diagnose or treat mental health conditions (unless a life coach was previously trained as a therapist, which is also common).

Consider therapy if you want to heal or get help with a mental health concern; try life coaching if you need help getting “unstuck” or realizing a fuller potential.

When to see a therapist

  • You experience mental health symptoms that cause distress in your life (i.e., anxiety, depression, trauma, disordered eating).
  • You want to heal from past hurts or trauma.
  • You need support navigating emotions.
  • You struggle with interpersonal relationships and want to learn strategies to feel less impacted by others.
  • You are experiencing relationship issues and could benefit from couples counseling.
  • When to see a life coach
  • You want to get ‘unstuck’ and set goals you will actually achieve.
  • You want to accelerate to the next step in your career .
  • You feel like your life is on autopilot, and want to challenge yourself or break out of your comfort zone.
  • You want to stop unhelpful habits and replace them with healthy alternatives.
  • You know that your inner critic keeps you from living your best life and you want to learn how to quiet that voice.
  • You desire a life with purpose and meaning but do not know where to start.
  • You feel confused about the next chapter in your life (i.e. struggling with career decisions, major life choices) and would like guidance on what would best serve you.
  • You know that you have a lot to feel grateful for but something is missing and you need that extra inspiration to piece your puzzle together.
  • You want to un-tap your inner motivation for a major goal, such as running a marathon
  • You want to hold yourself more accountable, whether in your personal or professional life

Therapy is rooted in the past and present; coaching focuses on the future

In therapy, you face the past in order to move forward

The therapy that most people are familiar with presents an opportunity to look at what’s going on inside – emotionally, psychologically, or interpersonally.

In therapy sessions, you’re often returning to the emotional experiences, the patterns, the trauma, the learning, and the beliefs that you had in the past – and connecting the dots to understand how they have now brought you to this time with challenges.
The goal of therapy is to release any places where you’re blocked so you’re able to be happier, more settled, and at peace. Therapy, at its core, is working on the psychological problems from their source and doing healing work.

Essentially, in therapy you’re deeply examining the questions and solving them, so that you feel free to move forward.

What is the difference between a counsellor and a therapist?

A counsellor is a trained, objective professional with whom you can build a healing and trusting relationship. They are trained to offer different types of assistance; most frequently talking-based styles of therapy.

The counsellor helps you to address your problems in a positive way by helping you to clarify the issues, explore options, develop strategies and increase self-awareness. For some people, just the process of telling their story to a counsellor, and being listened to, is helpful.

A counsellor may work in partnership with a medical doctor or other health professional at times to give comprehensive and integrated care.

Counselling provides confidential support. This means that everything you discuss with the counsellor is private, between you and the counsellor. The exception is when a counsellor has a duty of care to report something that threatens your wellbeing or the wellbeing of others. This legal requirement will be explained to you in your first counselling session. Here it is the same for the Life Coach/ Therapist and Counsellor.

Counselors and therapists are trained professionals who can find ways to help you cope, reduce the effects of emotional stress, help you feel better and become more functional in your day-to-day activities.

It’s really about finding the right person, not finding the right degree.

The difference between the right and wrong therapist or counselor for you is not going to come down to the letters after their name. It’s about whether you feel comfortable with them and vibe with their personality and therapy style. That might take some trial and error, since finding the best therapist for you is kind of like dating: You might have to sit through a few bad sessions before meeting a match.

At B-Stressfree we cover all three areas: Therapy, Counselling and Life Coaching, and are highly trained in all 3 modalities. It involves different techniques and focus areas in the process to follow. A full assessment will be done with your first appointment. Please discuss with me your needs, and areas for growth by booking your first appointment here.