What Is The Difference Between Psychology and Life Coaching?

What Is The Difference Between Psychology and Life Coaching?

Life coaching and clinical psychology are often considered the polar opposites of each other and in many ways, are similar. While clinical psychology deals with prescribed treatment methods as well as diagnosable conditions, life coaching entails no such thing. In fact, life coaching has very few tangible rules, making it a vast and diverse field. Unlike clinical psychology, life coaching has more to do with empowering functional individuals rather than treating mental or emotional disorders.

The origins of life coaching

The origins of life coaching and its branches can be accredited to the increasingly volatile and evolving nature of today’s society. Developing from a stable environment, the environment today has become impersonal, fast paced and competitive, indicating that everybody is required to stay ahead of the curve. While some can manage this feat by themselves, most need help.

Life coaches can help prioritize your life and help you achieve personal goals at home or work. While life coaching does not have any definite beginnings, its practice began in the 1990s in the United States and slowly spread to different parts of the world. To put it simply, life coaching evolved from three main streams, forming an amalgamation of these diverse yet similar fields. Life coaching is a hybrid of three streams that include:

  • Consultation, industrial psychology and organizational development
  • Psychotherapy and counseling (helping professions)
  • Personality development approaches

Life coaching finds its routes in modern counseling theories as well as psychology, fields that commonly reject medicine as a mode of treatment. This career path focuses on nurturing and developing all aspects of a person like spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical.

Major differences between psychology and life coaching

Despite being similar in nature, that of helping, clinical psychology and life coaching are two different streams. It is safe to assume that all clients that choose life coaching desire change in themselves and the situation around them. This may not be true for most clinical psychology patients as they continually struggle with their issues from the past. Life coaching attracts individuals who seek change out of want and not need. Another important factor that sets apart life coaching from clinical psychology is the rate of change in the client or patient. While clinical psychology relies on time to bring about developments and personality changes, life coaching relies on the change brought about by results.

A major difference between people who opt for life coaching and those who choose clinical psychology is the state of mind. Compared to psychology where troubled people approach psychologists, whereas life coaches mainly deal with healthy and ambitious individuals who are looking for ways to better their lives through organization, de-cluttering and prioritizing. Life coaches deal with people who are generally not fragile, whether intellectually or emotionally.

One of the most obvious differences between life coaching and clinical psychology is structure. While clinical psychology is regulated, organized and structured, life coaching is a flexible and evolving profession. In clinical psychology, each disorder consists of certain symptoms, diagnoses, treatment methods and medication. On the other hand, life coaching helps you deal with challenges without relying on rules and regulations or medication.

Life coaching has one major benefit over clinical psychology, that of convenience. Regardless of where you are in the world, you can receive excellent life coaching to transform your life. However, this method is very risky when it comes to clinical psychology. Life coaching also boasts an excellent clientele that includes people from all walks of life, age, gender, race and location. Clinical psychology on the other hand, is limited to diagnosable persons with specified mental, emotional or psychological disorders. Although you may not have any serious psychological issues, you can always benefit from the advice of a life coach.

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