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Coaching vs Therapy for Highly Sensitive People




Hello, hello Highly Sensitive Person!


In this episode of the highly sensitive club, I’m answering a question I get from a lot of potential clients – what’s the difference between coaching and therapy?


I am all for you building a team of people who can support you on your journey, and I think this episode is really going to help you make a well-informed decision for yourself on who to work with next.


Getting the mental health support or the coaching support that you need are extremely important for highly sensitive people, because of the way we process the world.


It’s easier for us to get stuck in our own heads and spin around in circles.


It’s easy for highly sensitive people to Get overwhelmed and overstimulated with all of the information and get stuck in analysis paralysis.


It’s easier for highly sensitive people to sacrifice their energy, their attention, their focus and their own emotions to help and care for others.


And it’s more likely for highly sensitive people to feel, like the oddball out in a world of people who don’t get overwhelmed or empathy, fatigue, or have as much trouble saying no as highly sensitive people can.


If it works for you, and can even work with a therapist and a coach at the same time to get two perspectives on any issue.


To make this a little easier to understand, I’m going to explain this with a parallel experience.


When you think about your health, you probably have a number of people who help you. You probably have a general practitioner (GP) or family Doctor Who handles your wellness visits every year and helps you when you have a particular illness or ailment. Your GP probably has also referred you out to specialists like a gynecologist or urologist or a dermatologist who can help you with specific parts of your health. They may also recommend a physical therapist if you have an injury or surgery you’re recovering from. If you want to strengthen your body and stamina you might work with a personal trainer. You might try a chiropractor for body alignment, or a nutritionist for dietary support.


In addition to all of these western practitioners, maybe you’re also open to some eastern and alternative modalities. I like the attitude of throwing everything at a problem, so if you’re into homeopathy and naturopaths, you might work with a Reiki healer or energy worker. Maybe you see a tarot reader for some extra guidance, and an astrologist that you work with on your health journey. I recently had a polarity session – which is a combination of message therapy and energy healing – where my practitioner and I did a session and chronic IT band pain I’d be dealing with for years has gone away.


While each of these people bring something different to the table, you wouldn’t expect any of them to do every single thing you need to do for your health, right?


See how big your physical health team can get?


It's the same with your mental health and self-development journey. You can’t get every single need met with one person, and leveling up your life is a great opportunity to build a team of people who can support you and guide you through whatever season or stage of life you’re in.


For the purposes of this episode, I’m going to use the term “therapist” as a short-hand, but there’s a whole range of mental health professionals that fall under that umbrella. You could find a licensed social worker, a counselor, a therapist, a psychologist, or a psychiatrist, and they all have slightly different scopes and ways that they help you improve your mental health.


Therapists are required to have a degree and licensing in the state where they practice. They go through rigorous training to do what they do, which makes sense if you’re letting someone explore some of the deepest, darkest areas of your life with you – you want them to be highly trained!


Coaches are guides, teachers, and leaders who specialize in helping you reach the next level in your life – in whatever area you want to improve!


I like the StoryBrand approach that I’m the guide like Obi-Wan, and you’re the hero, like Luke Skywalker. I’m here to help you on your journey, not tell you what to do.


Coaches don’t have to go through special training or get a license, but great coaches make sure they train with accredited programs who can certify coaches with a high level of skills and experience before they go out and help clients.


There’s a coach for every single need and problem you can think of.


Name a health problem, a money problem, or a relationship problem, and there’s a coach who specializes in that thing.


For instance, I know sleep coaches, somatic (or body) coaches, sex and intimacy coaches, money mindset coaches, career coaches, executive coaches, and business coaches that range from starting your business to growing your business to selling your business. I’ve even heard of coaches who just help you have stronger arms. And that’s the tip of the ice burg.


These distinctions, while juicy info for HSPs like us, are important because they’ll help you decide which professional to get support from.


I often get questions like, “Isn’t coaching kind of like therapy?” or “How do you stay out of the weeds with people and not go too deep?”


Here are the similarities and differences between the two.


In the venn diagram that is coaching and therapy, here’s where they overlap.


Both coaches and therapists are people who are interested in guiding you and supporting you in creating a better life for yourself.


Both a coach and a therapist want to teach you the skills to live a healthy empowered life.


Both a coach and a therapist might offer occasional advice or wisdom, but their main goal is to help you find answers for yourself.


In both spaces, the counselor or coach creates a safe container with confidentiality and privacy and trust so that the client feels completely comfortable exploring vulnerable parts of their emotional and mental world so that they can grow and improve with someone that they can trust and rely upon.


Both coaches and therapists are outside, objective observers of your life.


The main difference I want you to take away between coaching and therapy is that therapy is great for helping you heal from the past and coaching is great for helping you take action in the present to build the future that you want.


Therapy helps you when you are struggling with everyday life, such as when you are experiencing depression or anxiety or have another condition for which you want to receive support and treatment so that you feel like you can participate in your life again.


Coaching is perfect for when things are generally “good” or “fine” and you want to make them “great” and “amazing!”


When I was experiencing my longest episode of depression and anxiety, a therapist was the perfect person for me. My counselor helped me go from feeling numb and disinterested and discouraged in my life to getting through my day fairly easily, bringing more things into my life that I enjoyed, building healthy relationships that were mutual and vulnerable, and helping me heal and reframe from old wounds in the past.


This is exactly why you work with a therapist - they help you when it’s hard to even get through your day.


With a therapist, you know there’s a safe container and someone who can hold that healing space for you to get deep into both your little traumas and any big T traumas you may have experienced as well.


If you are having trouble getting through your day, if you constantly feel disconnected and discouraged and disempowered in your life, seek out a mental health professional.


I am a huge advocate of mental health and well-being, and I want you to get support and help and treatment for whatever is getting in the way of you feeling like you’re in control of your day-to-day life.


Not everyone has a great experience with their therapist or counselor, but when you do have a great experience with your mental health professional, it can be encouraging and give you a lot of hope for your future.


Often times, people will go through therapy and have a great experience learning about themselves, learning how to have greater autonomy and power and agency in their lives.


They experience a huge difference from when they started therapy to when they ““Graduate therapy, or when they no longer need therapy sessions.


And a lot of people find that they want to continue seeing their therapist after they’ve done the major work, but the therapist has taught them everything they need to know within the scope of therapy.


What do these people do?


They hire a coach!


When your counselor or therapist has worked with you long enough and decided that you have all the skills and tools that you need to graduate from therapy, that is the perfect time to start working with a coach.


Coaches help you go from functional to optimal.


Coaches can help you go from managing your life to thriving in your life.


Coaches are experts at helping you gain insights and turning those insights into actions so that you can achieve any goal or results that you want in your life.


If you love growth and self-improvement, and you have reached the functional point in life, that is when you are ready for a coach.


This looks like having steady employment that you don’t mind doing, you can pay the bills, you have generally good relationships With healthy, caring, loving people, and you are managing your health situation in whatever that looks like for you.


Working with a coach can help you improve every single one of those areas, whether you work with a generalist, or whether you work with a coach who specializes in a specific area.


You can absolutely read books listen to podcasts, watch, videos, take courses, fill out, workbooks, and still learn a lot.


But I have found through my experience and through my clients experience that having a therapist or a coach for this season of your life is often what makes the difference between simply being aware of something, and being able to apply it to your life to make permanent Lasting changes.


I often work with more than one coach at a time for different areas of my life.


For instance, I have a one-on-one business mentor whom I check in with every day so I have personalized accountability towards my goals, encouragement, and ideas when I get stuck.


I like having someone a little bit further down the road from me whom I can ask questions directly and have deep discussions with about my journey.


Sometimes my mentor is one of maybe one or two people in my life who completely understands the exact issue I’m having or how big a deal a win is for me.


I’m also in a group coaching program with tons of on-demand courses and options to watch others be coached.


There are self-paced exercises and tons of material to learn, which I also love because it gives me extra tools for managing my money mindset, sticking with my dietary protocol, and a ton of other content that’s unrelated to my business.


I love this variety and getting ideas from multiple people so I can put them together and create a 360 perspective on situations – something a lot of us HSPs love to do.


Another big benefit of coaching is accountability.


If you are one of the majority of the population who gets things done more easily when you have accountability with someone else, a coach, or therapist, can be your accountabuddy, someone who can keep you showing up to the mental health and emotional health gym.


It’s like hiring a personal trainer – you probably want their knowledge and experience AND someone who is going to text you when you miss sessions.


You pay them to show up in a big way with all their attention and focus on expertise aimed toward helping you specifically get stronger.


Coaches and therapists are also both available to keep you accountable to grow and to learn, even when things are hard or sticky or messy or everything in between.


Now here’s the difference between a good coach and a great coach.


A good coach will give you advice, will tell you what they think you should do, and design your action steps for you.


A good coach will encourage you, help you take action, and point out limiting beliefs and patterns.


A good coach probably has a lot they want to teach you based on their experience and how they learned to achieve success.


A good coach may or may not seek out training and practice to learn the skill of coaching, but they feel comfortable helping you with the knowledge and experience they’ve gained on their own.


A great coach will help you tap into your own creativity, your own inner wisdom and your own unique experiences to build action steps and insights that are completely yours.


With a great coach, you will build skills for yourself so you don’t have to rely on your coach to tell you what to do.


A great coach doesn’t just give you information but also teaches you how it works and how to apply it so you gain new skills you can use on your own.


A great coach seeks out training and certification so they can learn specific frameworks, tools, and skills that you can’t pick up simply from experience.


A great coach will encourage you but also knows how to effectively challenge you to step outside your comfort zone and to get uncomfortable in a way that doesn’t overload your nervous system or make you feel less-than.


A great coach is on your side, even when you aren’t on your own side and you want to throw in the towel.


A great coach is a little bit further ahead of you on the path, and knows how to bring out the best in you.


They’re not just a cheerleader for you and someone you get inspired with, they’re also someone who pushes you to become the next version of yourself.


I think there’s always something new to learn and improve, and I’m really proud of the fact that I can help you turn your high sensitivity into a superpower.


You can do all the things you’re doing now but with more ease, more energy, more efficiency, and more joy - not at the expense of yourself.


If you’re looking for a great coach who can help you take your high sensitivity to the next level, I would love to work with you.


I don’t feel any guilt or shame about saying I’m a great coach because I am constantly improving and learning new skills to make my coaching better.


I work my buns off to grow and expand my mindset so that I’m becoming a better coach every day.


I’m a certified coach with an ICF accredited program, and my school actually hired me back after I got certified to teach new students the skills and techniques that I’ve used to change my life and my clients’ lives too.


I pride myself on believing the best in my clients, seeing their gifts and strength where they don’t always see them, and listening at a deeper level than most people can accomplish because I’m a highly sensitive person.


I challenge my clients, and I’m not afraid to help them get outside of their comfort zone so that they can reach the goals that they want.


And, I love to share information and teach others the skills and tools that have been so helpful to me and to other clients, so when you work with me, you also get a teacher who wants to show you skills and techniques that you can use well beyond when we are done coaching together – information yes, but how to apply it is more important.


I want you to be your own biggest advocate, and I want to be the guide who walks that path beside you every step of the way.


But at the end of it, this is your journey, not mine, and I’m here to help you Learn what you need to learn to be able to grow and expand as far as you wanna go.


If this sounds like a good fit for you, and you want to learn how to fold your high sensitivity into your life so that you can stop feeling exhausted, burnt out stressed And overwhelmed with other peoples drama, if you want to learn how to do everything that you’re used to doing with more energy, more intention, and more connection, then I would love to help you.


I am accepting one on one coaching clients for three-month coaching packages and in that package you will get, my high-quality highly sensitive skills plus training from an accredited certification program +10 years of experience and research into high sensitivity that I’ve done so you don’t have to do it.


You get someone who genuinely cares about you and wants to see you succeed without being attached to the outcomes, or having opinions about who you should be, or what direction you should go in.


In this package, you get weekly one on one coaching sessions, unlimited text in Voice Memos support in the Telegram app, you get your own workbook to follow along and do the exercises every day so that you can make massive shifts in your life, and I am also offering to bonuses Which include access to my recording, content, library, and a specially recorded video series to help you every step of the way.


Go to the Work with Me page above to find out more about coaching with me and if you would like to have a one on one conversation where we can talk about your specific goals and what’s getting in your way, book a free consultation call with me.


It’s, a very quick 30 minute conversation very friendly chat so that we can determine if we are good fit, and I will be completely honest with you.


If I think that there is someone out there who is a better fit for you or if I think that you might need some other kind of support at the time.


But if I think we will be a good fit, and if you think will be a good fit, then I would love to help you and I can tell you more during the call.


Go out and find your self-development team, Highly Sensitive Person!


xo,

Steph

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