FAQs About Counseling, Therapy, Psychotherapy, and Coaching Services in Cleveland
So, you’ve located a therapist and you even called them to ask some questions. You even have a first appointment scheduled but truth be told, you have no idea what to expect. And then you heard about this thing called coaching as well. You are confused about if there is a difference between therapy, counseling, psychotherapy and coaching. Well, you are in good company. It is confusing – and that is completely normal.
Here is a brief explanation of the differences in services:
Basically, there is no difference between counseling, therapy and psychotherapy. Those are all one in the same. The therapist training might be different, their style and orientation might be different including the degree they earned but at the end of the day, counseling is therapy and therapy is psychotherapy and psychotherapy is counseling. You get the point.
The letter behind their names, those are their individual licenses and/or degrees earned to practice counseling. In Cleveland, you’ll see letters like LMFT and IMFT and IMFT-S. Those are all differing levels of what are called Marriage & Family Therapists. LISW and iterations of “SW” are Social Workers and LPCC is Professional Counselor. You have those just out of grad school and are still under supervision, those that have reached independent licensure and practice without supervision and those, like myself, that can supervise others who are working towards becoming independently licensed. But all those combo of letters can see individuals, couples and families for counseling services. Also, psychologists are doctorate level but practice in the same capacity as master’s level therapist when it comes to your basic counseling services. One of the things psychologists are trained to do differently is to administer some specialized testing. You’ll see behind their name, PhD or PsyD or usually they are called “Doctor” but some go by their first name too. But all those combo of letters can see individuals, couples and families for counseling services. A lot of times those letters only mean something to us but that’s what all the fuss is about.
Now, coaching is entirely different. Coaching can often be done by therapists but not all coaches are therapists. Therapists are specifically trained to treat and diagnosis mental illness. Coaches don’t diagnosis mental illness or treat the underlying causes of mental illness. They don’t explore the thoughts and feelings underlying the specific behavior you are trying to change. They will assist you with the desired behavior change and the obstacles getting in the way of that desired behavior change.
Beyond that, therapists, counselors and psychologists see people as individuals, couples or families. If they are seeing you as an individual, it’s just you coming in week after week. If it’s couples counseling, then it’s you and your partner coming in together. And with families, as you can imagine, it’s your family unit. Now family counseling can be varied and different as it can be father and daughter, whether adult child and their parent or child and their parent, or parents and all their children. Any exceptions to this basic services and combination of players can be discussed up front with your therapist. They’ll be able to guide you on what might make the most sense based on your treatment needs.
I hope this has been beneficial to you in demystifying counseling services in Cleveland. If you are still feeling perplexed, feel free to call me at (440) 836-3186 for a free 15-minute consultation. I’d be happy to hear about what is going on and connect you to the right person. If you are looking for help with codependency or relationship issues, you can read more about how I can help here.