Coaching and Therapy FAQs

Therapy versus Coaching -- What's the difference?


Coaching services are among the relationship services available through Working Relationships. These services are offered to organizations who wish to engage a relationship consultant to help staff members with people skills, and are also made available to individuals who seek to improve their effectiveness in the workplace, align their professional aspirations with business objectives, resolve self-defeating behaviors, lead others, and leverage their professional visibility and credibility.

If you and I agree to enter into a coaching engagement, we will establish a business contract for coaching services that articulates the terms of our relationship, the role of 3rd party stakeholders, the limits of confidentiality, and the objectives of our work together.

In case you donít know it, coaching in the United States is an unregulated field of practice. This means there are no licensing requirements for coaches and, because this profession is not recognized in Federal or State law, coaching clients do not enjoy the same legal protections available to consumers of regulated professions. For all intents and purposes, anyone with a mind to do so can call him/herself a coach, regardless of education or experience, and can offer their services in interstate commerce. This does not mean there arenít phenomenal coaches out there; however, because this is an unregulated field of endeavor, it falls to the consumer (not a designated consumer protection agency) to assess credentials, evaluate qualifications, and protect him/herself from unethical or misguided practitioners.

Letís be clear, coaching is not therapy. That said, because I am a licensed marriage and family therapist, I hold myself to the same ethical standards of practice with coaching clients as I do with therapy clients. Also, you should know that if, during the course of our coaching engagement, you should need the services of a psychotherapist, I will offer you appropriate referrals. Bottom line, if I become your coach, I cannot also be your therapist.


In addition to the other relationship services offered through Working Relationships, as a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in the State of California, I offer psychotherapy services to individuals, couples, and families who wish to achieve more satisfying relationships, seek to relieve psychological or emotional distress, and/or set out to resolve relationship issues (past, present, and anticipated) that can cause serious mental or emotional problems in and out of the workplace.

If you and I agree to enter into a therapeutic relationship, we will identify the goals of therapy, I will summarize legal provisions in place to protect you, I will explain the ethical principles that guide me and other ethical practitioners in my profession, and I will set about learning you.

In the State of California, marriage and family therapists (�MFTs�) are licensed mental health professionals who are trained and licensed to formulate clinical diagnoses, consider prognoses, and develop/implement treatment plans and intervention strategies to alleviate associated symptoms and problems related to unresolved relationship issues consistent with the diagnostic criteria detailed in the American Psychiatric Associations DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - 4th Edition).

To offer psychotherapy services within the State of California, MFTs will have earned an advanced educational degree (MA, MS, PhD, PsyD, or EdD) at an approved educational institution, will have completed at least 3000 hours of supervised clinical experience to the satisfaction of the licensing board, and will have successfully passed two rigorous competency examinations administered by the California State Department of Consumer Affairs Board of Behavioral Sciences. To keep our licenses active, we keep our skills current by earning continuing education credits and staying in compliance with the legal and ethical standards of our profession.

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