Psychotherapy or coaching? What’s the difference?

should you get therapy or coaching?What's the difference between psychotherapy and coaching?

I have a client who is in the middle of his divorce. He lives two states away from me, and he is a client for hands-on massage, so he only rarely sees me.

We had a conversation today. He feels somewhat happier than he felt the last time. He's been seeing a psychotherapist. When I asked him how his divorce was going, he said that it was tough because she was getting nasty.

She would say that he destroyed her life by divorcing her... she had it all work for her. So, what do you answer to that? I asked... He started to say "I want to find myself... blah blah blah".

I interrupted him. I asked him if he wanted coaching... and he said, of course. Then he continued talking...

I said, "if you want coaching, then stop talking."

He said: Don't you want to know the whole story? No, I said, I already know the whole story.

But how can you give me your opinion without me telling my whole story?

I will not continue as a conversation, now I am talking to you, I told him the same.

In psychotherapy you do the talking. The results you get are the result of you being able to express yourself and be heard. The therapist's advice is not better than your friends', the difference is that she/he is paid to listen, so listen they will. That is all they are good for.

Most (all?) psychotherapist are unhappy, miserable people. They never actually learned anything useful in their studies other than how to listen. But, with some exception that I haven't encountered yet, they go to this profession because they need help. But they don't learn anything helpful... and therefore they can't give you anything helpful.

Coaching (good coaching only!) is such that mostly the coach speaks. As soon as the picture is clear to them, they do the speaking: shift your focus, shift your context, teach you something, nudge you to take responsibility, etc. 1

Coaching (good coaching!) you cannot do unless you are good at the stuff yourself.

Now, I am not talking about life coaches: you can get a license to be that for next to nothing. I am not talking to business coaches: they go into coaching because they can't do business successfully.

I am talking about transformational coaching, which is as rare as a pink elephant. 2

Talking to a psychotherapist is useful, as much as a good cry, a good purging, a good sleep is. It may brighten your day, but ultimately it will only make a difference if you start to see your stuff and your responsibility in it differently: really hard for me to see that you would... given that nothing new is happening, no new vantage point, no you distinction, nothing.

I want to share with you what I taught this guy, who is getting his divorce:

His complaint was that he was getting no intimacy in his relationship. When I asked why that was, he said that his wife was not desiring him. When I asked why, he blamed it on her age, menopause, etc.

He could not see his own role it in. He didn't know, because no one will tell you that what attracts a woman to a man is the man's authority. A woman isn't turned on by a wimp, a sap, an emoting man: a woman is turned on by a man who behaves like a man.

Now, here is the twist: every woman tries to change their man. They think that what they want is a man who does everything for them, who is like them. Then, when the man changes, they stop desiring them.

It doesn't make sense, does it? But you can't respect someone who is like you, who is so easy. Who you don't need to hold onto, who is your slave. A woman wants a man... and you stopped being a man.

It is hard, and socially awkward to maintain your position: silent, strong, and powerful. The man. In possession of himself and his life.

I recommended that being that kind of man works not only in a relationship, but everywhere in life. In business, in a store, with other men... And if you are the kind of man that needs to emote, hire a psychotherapist: it will be much cheaper on the long run than divorce, and a marriage that offers no intimacy.

Now, let's return to the client in the middle of a divorce. What would a strong silent man, in authority of themselves, answer to the accusation of the soon to be ex-wife, when she says that she had destroyed her life by taking away all the perks of marriage?

What would you say?

You will get my answer if you post a comment with your suggestion.

Footnotes

  1. Look at a newer post on the kind of speaking that makes a difference
  2. Transformational coaching causes the client (you) to learn different ways to look at yourself and your life. Transformational coaching changes your inner state and causes a change in your outer being, behavior through that. Transformational coaching, and its success depends on the accurate recognition of the core issue... therein lies its difficulty. I have never had a good coach, and only had three good coaching sessions given to me in my entire life. It takes a life lived richly, through a lot of adversity, and decades of training and practice, AND possible the ability to connect to All-of-it to become a good/exceptional coach.

Author: Sophie Benshitta Maven

award winning architect, magazine publisher, transformational and spiritual coach and teacher, self declared Avatar

2 thoughts on “Psychotherapy or coaching? What’s the difference?”

  1. He could sympathize (empathize?) with her pain. He could apologize for any way in which he failed to honor the promises he made in their wedding vows. He can draw a line of demarcation between his responsibility and her responsibility for her happiness and for the present condition and future possibilities of her life. It would be completely true to say that he had done nothing to destroy her life by taking away the perks of marriage. But life is not lived that way. To say so might be cruel or unfeeling. She has her own work to do, and he has a right to be freed from any guilt or blame that does not rightly belong to him.

  2. Assuming they are resolved to saving the marriage, he should ask for a commitment to coaching. They both may need to see their situation differently.

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