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Q&A with Jennifer Schwtyzer, LMSW:
Understanding the differences between
Professional Coaching & Therapy

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jen to get some more insight about the differences between coaching and therapy so that anyone who is weighing their options can feel confident in their decision and get the support they need to grow and thrive.

Jen is a social worker and a certified Life Coach who launched KINDfulness Coaching to help professionals ditch chronic stress, overwhelm, and burnout to establish calm, productive order in women’s life and in business.

Q1: What is the difference between coaching and therapy?

This is a question that many people struggle with as it can be confusing to differentiate the roles of coaching and therapy. There are likely many coaches and therapists who will have different opinions on this question however I like to keep it simple for my clients. Ultimately as a clinician and coach, it comes down to my ability to differentiate when a coaching session starts to veer into therapeutic territory and vice versa and setting clear expectations from the beginning. 

A coach is someone who primarily focuses on the present and future, helping clients set and achieve specific goals. Coaches work with folks to enhance their performance, develop skills, overcome obstacles, and create action plans for success. 

A therapist on the other hand focuses on the past, present, and future to help folks explore and resolve emotional and psychological stressors. Therapy can dive into deep-rooted patterns, beliefs, and traumas that coaches may not explore as they may not have the training to do so. Therapists diagnose and treat mental health conditions and use various therapeutic modalities to facilitate healing and growth

Q2: How can clients decide between professional coaching and therapy?

Clients can decide between working with a therapist or a coach by considering their specific needs and goals. If they are primarily seeking support for personal growth, goal-setting, and improving performance, working with a coach may be the best choice. On the other hand, if they are dealing with emotional or psychological issues, past traumas, or mental health concerns, seeking therapy with a qualified therapist is recommended.

It’s important for clients to assess their desired outcomes and consider whether they require support in addressing emotional issues. If someone isn’t sure, qualified coach can help a client to determine whether their specific needs might warrant a higher level of service. This is why it’s so important to research and ask a coach about their training and background.

Q3: What are some things clients can consider when deciding between a professional COACHING AND THERAPY?

1. Goal FOCUS DIFFERS IN COACHING AND THERAPY

Determine if the primary need is personal growth, skill development, and goal attainment (coaching), or addressing emotional/psychological issues and mental health concerns (therapy).

2. Time Orientation Differences in Therapy and Coaching

Assess whether the situation requires short-term goal-oriented support (coaching) or long-term exploration of underlying issues (therapy).

3. Training & Qualifications of Therapists vs Coaches

Consider the qualifications, certifications, and experience of the coach or therapist to ensure they have the necessary expertise in the specific area of focus.

4. Limitations Of coaching and therapy: Scope of Practice

Understand the limitations and boundaries of each profession. Coaches cannot diagnose or treat mental health conditions, while therapists are trained to address psychological issues.

5. Professional Guidance

Seek recommendations, read reviews, or consult with professionals in the field to gather insights and make an informed decision based on individual needs.

6. Personal Comfort

Consider personal preferences and comfort levels. Some individuals may feel more at ease discussing personal matters with a therapist, while others may prefer the action-oriented approach of a coach. By considering these factors, clients can make an informed decision and choose the professional whose expertise aligns best with their specific needs and desired outcomes.

Q4: What types of things do you work on with your coaching clients?

KINDfulness Coaching specializes in helping women dealing with stress, overwhelm, and anxiety to discover a sense of calm and productivity in both their personal and professional lives. By assisting clients in identifying priorities, setting boundaries, and boosting motivation, we aim to simplify their lifestyles. As a result, our clients report improved work-life balance, reduced guilt in family matters due to increased time, higher energy levels, and a greater sense of fulfillment from prioritizing their own well-being and personal growth.

Q5: What do you feel is the biggest difference in your style when coaching versus providing therapy?

This is a tough one! I always strive to be authentic and let my personality shine in both settings while building a strong rapport with my clients. In coaching sessions, I tend to be more relaxed and open, sharing personal experiences more freely than in therapy. The most significant difference lies in the expectations in and after each session. In therapy, we often delve into the root causes of a client’s feelings and thoughts, which may take multiple sessions to unpack.

On the other hand, coaching is highly solution-focused, where we immediately work on action plans and strategies to achieve goals. As a coach, I act as a supportive guide, ensuring progress and accountability, and empowering clients to tackle challenges and move forward swiftly.

Q6: What are the different styles and approaches you use when providing professional coaching

Much like therapy, coaching encompasses various specialties. Coaches can have a broad focus, such as life, health, or career coaching, or they might specialize in very specific niches, such as, supporting parents of children aged 5-12 with ADHD. If you are looking for a specific coach, a quick google search will bring up many different options. 

Q7: Do you think it's beneficial for therapists and coaches to work together?

Absolutely, I love working with clients who are also working with a therapist. There are many benefits which can include:

  • Therapists and coaches bring different skill sets and perspectives. By working together, they can address both the emotional/psychological aspects (therapist) and the goal-setting/action-oriented aspects (coach) of a client’s journey, providing more comprehensive and potentially holistic support.
  • If a client has completed therapy and wants to focus on personal growth and goal attainment, a coach can help them smoothly transition by building upon the progress made in therapy and guiding them towards their desired outcomes.
  • Therapists can refer clients to coaches when they have specific goals that require focused guidance and action plans. Coaches can provide accountability, motivation, and support to help clients achieve those goals.
  • Coaches working alongside therapists can provide feedback on clients’ progress outside of therapy sessions. This collaboration allows for a more accurate assessment of how clients are implementing therapeutic insights and strategies in their everyday lives.
  • Coaches can provide ongoing support to clients after they have completed therapy, helping them maintain and build upon the progress made while continuing to work towards personal and professional growth.
  • It’s important for therapists and coaches to have clear communication and collaboration protocols in place to ensure the client’s well-being and avoid conflicts in their roles.

Q8: Do you think there are potential pitfalls of therapists & coaches working together?

Yes! If the roles of the therapist and coach are not clearly defined, there may be confusion about the scope of practice and professional boundaries. This can lead to overlap or conflicting guidance, causing confusion and potential harm to the client.

Therapists and coaches have different ethical guidelines and responsibilities. It’s essential to ensure that both professionals adhere to their respective ethical standards and maintain client confidentiality, informed consent, and professional boundaries. Not all therapists and coaches are experienced or trained in working collaboratively. It’s important to ensure that both professionals have the necessary skills, training, and experience in integrating their approaches effectively.

Effective communication and coordination between the therapist and coach are crucial. Without clear and open lines of communication, important information about the client’ may be missed, leading to ineffective or conflicting support.

Mitigating Pitfalls of Coaching & Therapy Overlaps

In some cases, clients may become overly dependent on both the therapist and coach, seeking support without developing self-reliance or coping skills. This can hinder the client’s long-term growth and self-sufficiency.

To mitigate these pitfalls, therapists and coaches should establish clear roles and responsibilities, maintain open communication, and ensure that the client’s well-being and best interests remain the priority. Collaboration between professionals should be based on shared goals, mutual respect, and a commitment to providing comprehensive and ethical support.

Our Conclusion on the differences between Coaching & Therapy

In conclusion, it becomes evident that coaching and therapy present distinct approaches to helping individuals navigate their challenges and achieve personal growth. The key differences lie in the focus of the sessions, the providers credentials and the skills used to help individuals grow.

In psychotherapy, the focus centers on exploring and understanding the underlying causes of a client’s emotions and thoughts. This introspective journey may span across several sessions, delving deep into the roots of their struggles to foster lasting healing and transformation.

On the contrary, professional coaching adopts a markedly solution-oriented approach. With a strong focus on goal-setting and achievement, coaching immediately initiates the development of actionable plans and strategies. Through this proactive process, clients are empowered to make tangible progress and attain their desired objectives effectively.

It is essential to recognize that both professional coaching and psychotherapy play vital roles in supporting individuals’ well-being and personal development. The choice between the two depends on one’s specific needs and preferences, as well as the nature of the challenges they face. Ultimately, by understanding these differences, individuals can make informed decisions about which path best aligns with their aspirations.

Jennifer Schwtyzer, LMSW coaching and therapy provider

Jennifer Schwtyzer, LMSW
KINDfulness Coaching
www.kindfulnesscoaching.com

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FAQ's about online therapy in NJ

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Does my insurance cover my visits?

We provide”Courtesy Billing” for clients who are using the Out-of-network insurance benefits.

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Do you offer traditional talk therapy?

of course! though we have some unconventional therapy approaches, we are rooted in evidenced based practices. Talk therapy is a major player in the therapy room! See What we Treat and Integrative Services for more information

Is Online Therapy As Effective As In-Person Therapy?

Online therapy is essentially face-to-face counseling, just conducted remotely. Studies show that teletherapy is as effective as traditional counseling. Professional organizations and state governments recognize its benefits and have set regulations for it. However, like any therapy, its success in achieving your goals isn’t guaranteed. It’s important to discuss with your therapist whether teletherapy is working for you.

Can I Change Therapists If I'm Not Happy?

Yes, you can switch therapists to another provider within the practice, or we can provide you a referral if preferred. We want to ensure that your time and effort are well spent, and that you are getting the relief you need, that’s why we work collaboratively with each other in the practice, as well as outside therapists who we know and trust.

How Do I Know If Therapy Is Helping?

You should feel like you’re making progress. Signs it’s working include:

Feeling comfortable talking to your therapist
Your therapist respects boundaries
You’re moving towards your goals
You feel listened to
You’re doing better in life
Your self-esteem is getting better

Is Online Therapy Easy to Use for Non-Tech-Savvy People?

Yes, it’s pretty simple to access sessions. You’ll need basic internet skills, such as opening and visiting the patient link sent to you via email. It’s similar to video chatting like Facetime or Zoom. We can also walk you through it on the phone the first time to ensure a strong connection

What Questions Should I Ask My New Therapist?

Feel free to ask anything. Some good questions are:

  • How often will we meet?
  • What do you specialize in?
  • What experience do you have with my issue?
  • What outcomes can I expect?
  • How will I know I’m progressing?
  • How long do you usually work with clients?
  • How will we set my treatment goals?

How Should I Prepare for My First Session?

Showing up is all that you need to do! But if you really want to get the most out of session, it could help to take some time to think about what you want from therapy. It helps to write down your goals, questions you have or things that you feel are important to share. 

What is the difference between associate therapists & fully licensed therapists?

Our Qualifications:

Our founder, Rebecca Sidoti, is a highly qualified, state-licensed therapist and supervisor with extensive training in anxiety related disorders and innovative treatment such as Ketamine Therapy. Mind by Design Counseling adheres to standards set by the our governing counseling boards.

To see each providers credentials, training and licenses, visit our “Meet the Therapists” Page to learn more.

 

  • LAC/LSW are therapists who may practice clinical work under the supervision of a fully licensed therapist.
  • LPC/LCSW are therapists who have completed the necessary clinical hours post-graduation under supervision and can practice clinical work independently.

What Geographic Areas Are Served?

Currently, we serve clients in New Jersey and are expanding to other states as telehealth laws evolve. While telehealth offers the convenience of attending sessions from anywhere, state laws require clients to be in-state during their session.

Is Virtual Counseling Suitable for Everyone?

Online therapy might not be as effective for individuals with chronic suicidal thoughts, severe trauma, significant mental health history, or those recently in intensive care. Such cases often benefit more from traditional, in-person counseling. We’ll help you decide if our online services are right for you during your intake and evaluation.

What Equipment is Needed for Online Therapy?

To join a session, log in using the credentials we provide. No downloads are needed. Our platform, compatible with both individual and group sessions, requires:
A computer or mobile device with a webcam and internet access.
We’ll help you test your setup before your first appointment to ensure a reliable connection. iOS users should use the Safari browser for mobile and tablet sessions.

What Questions Will Therapists Ask Me?

It depends on your goals. Expect questions about your thoughts, feelings, relationships, work, school, and health. They’ll ask to understand your therapy goals.

How Do You Keep Client Information Secure?

Security and Confidentiality of Sessions:
Your privacy is crucial to us. We use TherapyNotes, a HIPAA-compliant platform, ensuring secure and confidential teletherapy sessions. This platform’s security features include encrypted video connections, secure data transfers, and encrypted databases, ensuring your information is safe at all times.

What is VRT used for?

we use VRT to support Exposure Therapy, a long standing traditional therapy modality to treat phobias, anxiety and stress. we send a headset directly to your home so you can access VRT from anywhere.

VRT not only helps with exposure therapy for phobias, but is great for ADHD, mindfulness, PTSD and social anxiety.