What are the differences between a psychologist and a coach?

Did you know that almost half of all Dutch people have to deal with a mental illness at least once in their lives? This can vary from depression or burn-out to a psychosis or other mental problems. Psychologists and coaches help people to solve their psychological problems, for example when someone had a traumatic experience. Both professions have a number of similarities. For example, they both work with people who ask for help. There are also differences between a coach and a psychologist, which we will make clear in this article.

The work of psychologists and coaches is not the same

A psychologist helps someone who suffers from psychological problems. Think about anxiety disorders, eating disorders or (social) phobias, for example. These are just a few mental disorders in a very broad spectrum. Such problems are caused by a variety of reasons. For example, a person can become mentally confused because of a traumatic experience. Many people think that a psychologist almost does the same work as a coach. This is not entirely true. Whereas a psychologist focuses on dealing with severe mental problems, a coach mainly searches for the solution of a certain problem.  

What does a psychologist do?

Both a psychologist and a coach work one-on-one with coachees. There is a lot of personal attention and various conversation techniques are used. A psychologist and a coach both focus on changing certain behaviour. However, this is easier said than done. Many people show certain behaviour patterns that cannot be changed quickly. A psychologist tries to break through these behavioural patterns in a different way than a coach. He or she assumes that certain behaviour is the result of events from the past. The psychologist will therefore study past events in the life of his or her client. By doing so, he hopes that current behavioural patterns can be explained. If this is the case, a treatment plan will written.

What does a coach do?

A psychologist has a vision that focuses on the past. This distinguishes him or her from a coach, who is way more forward-looking. A coach looks at what is happening at the moment to change the future of the coachee in a positive way. This requires a lot of reflection on the client's own behaviour. Why does he or she show this behaviour and are there certain aspects that can bring a positive change? A coach hopes that a client will get more insight in his or her behaviour. In general, a coaching session does not take very long, because a coach focuses on solving problems in the present. A psychologist on the other hand focuses on the present ánd past. As a result, a psychologist often has to deal with long-term problems and a coach with short-term problems. 

How to choose between a coach and psychologist

Perhaps you need professional guidance because of certain problems in your private and/or professional life. One of the coaches that can be found at OnlineCoach.net could help you with this. Hopefully you will find an experienced professional in one of the categories on the site, so that you get the right support. A coach is an equal partner who, among other things, helps you to achieve certain goals in your life. A goal could be restoring your work-life balance, for example. A coach can also help you to deal better with big changes in your life, such as a new job or a divorce. Giving new insights to a client is an important task of a coach. A psychologist is a good choice when certain events from the past still affect your life today. Which treatment is chosen, whether it might be given by a coach or psychologist, eventually depends on the person and his or her problems.
What are the differences between a psychologist and a coach?


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