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  • Writer's pictureLiliana Turecki

Where is the Line Between Therapy and Coaching?

Coach or therapist? Individuals with ADHD often have a hard time understanding which ADHD treatment approach might work the best for them. In this blog, we’ll navigate the line between therapy and coaching alongside dissecting the roles they come with.

Therapy vs. Coaching

In a gist, an ADHD coach is someone who focuses more on “action” while a therapist predominantly works on "healing". The line between therapy and coaching emerges when both – a therapist and a coach – have entirely distinct roles to play.

Coaches help clients strengthen their executive functions. They work collaboratively with their clients to design strategies and construct skills to overcome the day-to-day roadblocks – such as issues with estimating and managing time, organizing, planning, and focusing on tasks.

A therapist, on the other hand, operates within the emotional dimension of ADHD and helps treat other conditions associated with ADHD – such as anxiety and mood disorders.

In many cases, a client may see a therapist for emotional healing but might also need a coach for accountability and managing their executive functions.

However, if your more pressing predicament is a messy routine, trouble getting organized, or cluelessness when it comes to time management – you might want to go for ADHD coaching.

Likewise, if understanding and managing your emotions seem too overwhelming – especially the more intense ones (anxiety, depression, excessive stress) – you might need therapy.

It’s ok to need help from one professional, to navigate between therapy and coaching as you go. Sometimes in living with ADHD you need more mental health support, other times you need support with managing your day-to-day life and sometimes you need both at the same time.

Diving a Little Deeper

Therapy seeks to answer the “whys” of certain symptoms or behaviors. ADHD coaching, on the hand, seeks to work around the “hows”. Even bad days can be coachable, but when these accumulate to a pattern, therapists are needed.

There are false notions that therapists only deal with the past and coaches only deal with the present. The reality is that both deal with the past, present, and future of the clients they work with.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – the most common type of therapy for adults with ADHD – focuses on cognitive modification, coping skills, and behavioral modification.

Signs a therapist may be required:

· Preservative thinking

· Rumination

· Relationship issues

· Lack of self-care

· Lower levels of functioning in the world

Signs a coach may be required:

· Co-create routines

· Structure

· Consistency in life, working place, and organization

· Time management

When you’re collaborating with a coach, however, the focus shift towards staying on the right track, sticking to your strategies, and trying your best to achieve your goals. ADHD coaching focuses more on helping clients construct practical solutions to remain focused. A coach helps you draw meaningful lessons from past experiences, single out your greatest strengths, and proactively apply your growth strategies to both anticipate and dodge distractions. Coaching is not meant to be an experience that takes you to a place where you don’t feel good – it is meant to make you feel better and have confidence moving forward.

If you feel the need to work collaboratively with a coach, connect with me to understand how exactly ADHD coaching can help!


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