Psychotherapy or Life Coaching: A Literature Review

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Ferrari, Ana
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Psychotherapy and life coaching are both considered helper professions. This literature review looks at the two disciplines through a historical lens to understand their foundations and the path each took to their current successes. There are many similarities between the two while each remains distinct in important ways. When comparing psychotherapy to life coaching, some surface similarities exist, including the creation of strong relationships to help the client succeed in whatever problem brought them to the service. Other factors only help to create the illusion of sameness, as life coaching tends to borrow from psychology. An example of this borrowing is in the solution-focused approach. Solution-focused brief therapy set the groundwork for future, and goal oriented therapy. Through its innovative humanistic approach, it gained popularity in the discipline of life coaching as a guide towards a result- and performance-based practice. However similar they may seem, there are also subtle differences between the two disciplines. Psychotherapy's roots derive from the medical model for healing and treatment, whereas life coaching's roots derive from a teacher and educational model. As the two disciplines differ in their roots, so do they differ in their pathways to mandatory regulation. In the last chapter, suggestions for further research are made and implications for scholarly action are discussed.
psychotherapy , solution-focused brief therapy , solution-focused life coaching , life coaching , professional ethics , professional standards , personal coaches
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States , openAccess