Reaching a goal or overcoming a difficult challenge in your life can be tough to handle on your own. Feelings of uncertainty, doubt, and worry can get in the way of your goals and cause you to feel stuck. If you find yourself struggling to make a big decision or simply need advice from an unbiased perspective, investing in a life coach may be a good choice for you.
Differences Between a Life Coach and a Therapist
Life coaches generally focus on the present and future goals of their clients, and they provide specific advice to help them reach these goals. Therapists tend to focus on the client’s past to help them process life events or to understand the factors that may have contributed to a mental illness. Therapists ask open-ended questions and have no set schedule for how long a client should continue seeking therapy. Life coaching sessions on the other hand are more focused. Additionally, life coaches are usually involved in a client’s life for a certain amount of time. Their mission is to help their clients overcome doubt, challenge themselves, and achieve success in a specific area of their life.
When choosing between a life coach and a therapist, there are three key things to keep in mind:
What to Expect from a Life Coaching Session
During the first session with your life coach, it’s important to be open and honest about what you want to achieve and any obstacles that are standing in your way. Once your life coach fully understands your situation, they will help you look at your life objectively and develop a specific process to begin implementing change. A good life coach will be encouraging, give you positive feedback, and challenge you to do your best. They should be a friendly advisor, not an instructor or dictator!
Clients usually have 3-4 sessions per month with their coach to reflect on the changes made since last session, discuss any concerns, and plan for the next 1-2 weeks. Coaches may assign “homework” for their clients such as journaling or keeping track of any negative thoughts they may have. Sessions may last between 30-60 minutes, and life coaches can work with clients over the phone, in person, or through other means of communication.
Benefits of Hiring a Life Coach
If you’re feeling fairly confident that you can achieve your goals on your own, that’s great! Being self-motivated and disciplined both help significantly when you want to make a change in your life. But it can be even more helpful to have a positive influence on your side to offer you advice, encouragement, and a different perspective. Here are a few more of the ways a life coach can help you get the most out of your life:
If you are looking for further guidance but not sure where to begin, try reaching out to the qualified professionals at Oakville Wellness Center.
A great therapist generally won’t be like the stereotypical psychologist character that is often portrayed in movies. Therapy involves much more than venting to a listening ear, and your therapist should offer more feedback than repeatedly asking you, “So, how do you feel about that?” If you’ve been “shopping around” for a therapist or you’re wondering if your current therapist is right for you, first ask yourself two questions:
If you find yourself hesitating to answer yes to either question, it would be best for you to find a different therapist. Even therapists are imperfect, so they may not communicate well with you, your personalities can clash, or you may simply not like them--and that’s OK. However, if you answered yes to both questions, you’re off to a good start! Keep reading to see if your therapist is the perfect fit for you.
Most people would assume that all therapists are naturally good listeners because it’s such a huge part of their job. Sadly, some therapists can be distracted or unfocused when talking to their clients. Some patients have even reported that their therapist fell asleep during an appointment! If your therapist makes phone calls, texts, or eats meals during your session, these are warning signs that they’re not entirely focused on you.
You will know your therapist is a good listener if:
Accepting and Non-judgemental
You should never feel ashamed or afraid of being judged during therapy. Your therapist shouldn’t make you feel like you need to lie about your feelings, or cause you to fear disclosing “too much” during your appointment. If your therapist makes hurtful or judgemental comments that leave you feeling worse, it’s time to find a more compassionate therapist.
A good therapist will help you feel accepted by building trust with you, and approaching sensitive topics carefully. They should display empathy and be able to understand things from your point of view. Once you’re comfortable with opening up more to your therapist, they should ask you non-judgemental questions about the event to fully understand what happened so they have the knowledge they need to help you cope and heal.
Help You Implement Change
Making changes in your thinking habits or daily life can be really challenging, which lots of people might not realize. Therapy isn’t just a weekly appointment to update your therapist on how your week is going! A good therapist will give you the tools you need to start making positive changes in your life. For example, if you’re dealing with a mental illness, your therapist should work with you to identify specific goals you want to reach (i.e. challenge a negative thought daily), and teach you healthy coping skills. Your therapist should give you “homework” to do every week and ask you how it went at the following session.
If a few sessions go by and you haven’t talked about setting goals yet, ask your therapist to help you begin setting reasonable goals for your treatment. But remember: your therapist shouldn’t be telling you what to do, either. They can offer their advice or perspective, but in the end, all goals and decisions should be up to you.
Knowledgeable About Current Research
A good therapist should be up-to-date about the latest breakthroughs in treatments, new terminology, or changes in the DSM. Their sessions should be based upon proven scientific studies that have been shown to help people, such as using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Great therapists usually read books about psychology, attend conferences, or even take more training courses to stay knowledgeable.
The ways a therapist helps you should all be based on facts. Noam Shpancer, Ph.D., writes, “Good therapy does not contradict or ignore sound scientific data, knowledge, or evidence.” So if your therapist promises that the treatment is guaranteed to help you or says they can “change” your personality, it would be wise to look for a new therapist.
Where to Find a Good Therapist
At Oakville Wellness Center, we understand how frustrating it can be when you can’t find the right therapist for your needs, so we made the process easier for you. On our website, you can view the profiles and specialties of qualified therapists before scheduling a session, and you can even book an appointment online.
A good therapist can make a world of difference in a person’s life. They offer valuable advice and feedback, provide a safe environment to talk about negative emotions, and teach individuals healthy ways to cope with their feelings. But just like in any profession, there are good therapists that you’ll benefit from and bad therapists that may discourage you. If you’re worried that your therapist might be doing more harm than good, look out for these signs.
Do You Dread Your Appointments?
It can be nerve-wracking when you first start seeing a therapist, and you may feel uncomfortable during the first session or two, and this is normal. After your therapist gets to know you, you should feel more comfortable with being open and honest, and your session should become a highlight of your week. However, if you dread future appointments because they leave you feeling bored or unmotivated, you would benefit from seeing a different therapist.
Clinical psychologist Christina G. Hibbert, Psy.D, has noticed that many people prematurely decide therapy isn’t right for them after only seeing one therapist, but she encourages others to keep seeking treatment despite the disappointment they might experience at first. She says, “It’s hard enough to get yourself to therapy when you need it, but to have to then ‘shop around’ for the right therapist can make many people either quit or settle for the first one they find, even if it’s not a right fit.”
Is Your Therapist a Good Listener?
You would think that all therapists are good listeners, but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. People have told stories of their therapists answering phone calls, texting, or even falling asleep during sessions! Even if your therapist doesn’t seem noticeably distracted during sessions, it might be reasonable to find a new counselor if your therapist doesn’t seem interested or engaged or doesn’t remember major details about you. Ros Johnson, LICSW, says there are a few ways therapy clients can tell if their therapist isn’t listening:
Are You Making Progress?
There are countless reasons why a person might decide to try therapy, whether it’s for a mental illness, addiction, relationship troubles, or a big life change. Your therapist should be helping you to address specific areas of your life where you can begin implementing change. According to Linda Esposito, LCSW, says that, “You cannot fix a problem without having a goal.”
As you discuss your issues with your therapist, you should work together to create goals for yourself. If you feel like each session is the same routine, you don’t have a specific goal, and your therapist doesn’t give you something to “work on” in between sessions, you should express this to them. Explain that you’re at a loss for what to do, and that you’d like help with determining a goal for yourself. If nothing changes, find a different provider.
Do You Feel Judged or Invalidated?
One woman recalled her therapist saying that if she lost weight, her depression would likely get better. This occurred after the woman had opened up about her struggles with body dysmorphic disorder. Needless to say, she left the session feeling defeated, upset, and insecure.
Another therapy patient recounts this statement from their therapist: “You seem to be doing fine. I’m not convinced that you really have anxiety.” If your therapist makes a comment that hurts you, you should speak up about it. Notice if other harmful comments are made, or if any of these things occur during your sessions:
Does Your Therapist Break Confidentiality?
There are only three reasons a therapist should break confidentiality: if the patient is a danger to themselves, has a plan to harm others, or if a child is being abused. Other than these, a therapist should never disclose any patient information to others. You should be confident that whatever you tell your therapist will be kept private. Loren Soeiro, Ph.D., writes that if your therapist doesn’t keep your sessions confidential, you can report him or her to the state licensing board for psychology.
Finding a great therapist can be challenging, which is why Oakville Wellness Center allows you to review therapist profiles and find the perfect fit for your needs.
Having relationship tension with your partner is normal after having a child. Sleepless nights, changes in employment, money problems, and several other issues can arise that neither of you would have expected before your baby arrived. A previously happy marriage can seem to take a turn for the worse as you and your spouse disagree over rules for your child, child rearing practices, and other important factors.
Disagreement and frustration is undoubtedly going to occur between you and your partner after having a child, but these difficulties can be overcome. If you fear your marriage has been suffering as you raise children, here’s a few words of advice for common relationship troubles.
Partners to Parents
Some couples may underestimate how much a baby will impact their lifestyle. Couples who enjoy late-night dates or spontaneous trips come to realize that with children, these activities become much rarer. Fun, energetic conversations about dreams, funny stories, or opinions can die out and be replaced by mundane questions about daily life. New parents may also stop doing little things for their spouses that make them smile after having children. It can feel like there’s no romance left in your relationship.
If you feel more like coworkers in raising children than a married couple, try to start bringing romance and spontaneity back in small gestures. Send a quick romantic text to your partner, cook their favorite meal, or simply ask them questions that aren’t about the kids. In order to keep your marriage strong, it’s important to continue making your spouse feel loved and appreciated despite the busyness of life.
Parents can become lonely and overwhelmed if they’re often at home by themselves taking care of the child. One mother says that she “envied her friends’ freedom” during the months she stayed home with her infant son while her husband worked. Even in relationships where both partners continue working after childbirth, women are more likely to cut hours at work in order to spend more time with their baby. After spending a lot of time home, women can start to feel disconnected from coworkers, friends, and family.
To combat the feelings of social isolation, talk to your partner about scheduling time during the week where you can take turns watching the children so the other person can meet up with friends, go shopping, or simply take a walk.
Most men don’t know anything about raising a child or child care until after their partner has a baby. This can be especially frustrating for new mothers, as they feel like they have to supervise their husband to make sure he’s changing or feeding their baby properly. Women may take on the role of the “primary caretaker,” leaving the other partner to feel left out or upset. If this problem continues unresolved, it can lead to power struggles where the husband keeps trying to prove that he knows what to do and he can handle caring for the baby.
The easiest way to combat this problem would be to educate the expecting father about child care before the baby arrives. An expecting father is encouraged to go to prenatal classes and doctor appointments with his wife, and some areas even have “expectant fathers’ classes.” However, if your baby has arrived and your husband seems clueless about caring for a child, he can read up on the basics of child care online.
Raising a baby is expensive, and if one partner needs to take time off work to care for the baby, finances can become even tighter. The spouse who earns money for the family may encounter more stress while being the sole provider, and their partner can feel guilty about staying home. New parents often encounter money problems, but it’s usually the underlying emotions that make these issues worse, such as feelings of shame, stress, or sadness.
One way to combat arguments and negative feelings about money is to find a time to sit down together and go over your budget in detail. Make a list of what the total income is, what essentials your family requires, and look for areas you can cut back spending in.
Of course, there are many more problems parents may encounter as they raise children, and these issues may result in significant stress or depression. Psychology professor Matthew D. Johnson writes that, “The link between psychological and marital problems is strong enough that researchers have found that couples therapy is one of the most effective ways of treating depression and some other mental illnesses.”
If your marriage is struggling or you think you may be suffering from a mental illness such as postpartum depression, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment online at Oakville Wellness Center today.