Finding yourself in a position where you feel you need emotional or psychological help can be a painful realisation. Your first step will be to decide what level or kind of support you are seeking. Mental health and support options come in a variety of forms; each has a specific purpose. Also, providers will have education and certifications that match their practice. While mental health or coaching services can be used concurrently, it helps to know which practitioner to seek out initially.
Life coaches are not mental-health practitioners. Coaching can cover many aspects of support: career, lifestyle, health, spiritual, and any variety of life experiences with which you may want assistance. Coaching is a specific process to help you set goals and identify roadblocks. Coaching is not universally regulated however there are recognised bodies that are run professionally and where coaches can earn diplomas such as at the School of Natural Health Sciences (SNHS) which is recognised and accredited internationally by the International College of Holistic Medicine (ICHM). Research and referrals are useful for determining effective coaches. If you are seeking support for a more serious emotional or mental issue, it is best to have a licensed professional, including your physician, evaluate you.
Therapist are licensed professionals that cover all spectrums of mental health support. To become licensed in their field, they had to complete a degree program and qualifications for their practice. Research the counsellor or therapist credentials and theories for the best chance of finding one that meets your needs. You will find several philosophies and styles, so it is essential to be comfortable with the provider and his or her approach to your needs. Examples of therapy services include but are not limited to psychotherapy, marriage and family counselling, behaviour therapy, interpersonal therapy and child counselling. Therapists provide advice and can assess clients but cannot prescribe medication. A counsellor or therapist who believes you need evaluation for medication will refer you to your physician or a psychiatrist.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors that diagnose mental and emotional health issues, prescribe medication, and provide medication management with treatment plans. Psychiatrists do not necessarily offer counselling or psychotherapy. Vast studies show that drugs are more effective when combined with counselling or therapy component, as opposed to medication as a sole treatment.
Life coaching, therapy, and psychiatric treatment are not ambiguous, and each has its purpose. Take your time and be willing to try different providers until you find one with whom you can work. Be ready during intake to provide an analysis of what you believe your issues are and what help you are seeking. After all, you do not want to see a psychiatrist if all you need is help to move forward and set personal and professional goals.