Will therapy help me?


Will therapy help me? How will I know if it will work for me?
Will therapy help me? is probably one of the most commonly asked questions. Therapy can be beneficial for people in diverse situations, when performed by a trained, caring professional. It is also true, as it is with so many things in life, that what you get out of therapy depends on what you put into it.  When you work with me, we will discuss what your needs are, define the goals of therapy to your satisfaction and make a plan to be followed during the therapy so you will know what to expect and approximately how long it will take. We will make adjustments along the way, if they are needed.

What’s the difference between Coaching and Therapy?
This is kind of  long but I want to be accurate in giving you this answer. There are some similarities and some differences.  Both coaches and therapists, if they are competent, are self-correcting. That is, both pay close attention to what works with clients and what doesn’t and both search for approaches that work best for each individual. A relationship between client and practitioner that is built on trust and respect is necessary for success in both coaching and therapy.

Currently, a therapist requires a state license to practice but a coach does not, although there are several professional certifications a coach may earn.  Therapists can diagnose and treat various mental health conditions, and may help resolve life problems, such as relationship difficulties, problems with work, self esteem or a traumatic experience, just to name a few. Often the therapist is seen as the expert who directs the course of therapy.

Coaching is used in a variety of situations outside of athletic performance, in which the client wishes to improve performance (such as a voice coach, a personal trainer, a business coach, a testing mentor), overcome patterns of behavior that are interfering with the client’s happiness or goals (such as a relationship coach or an organization coach, or an eating/nutrition coach), and to improve or overcome self-limiting beliefs (such as a life coach or a spiritual coach). A coach-client relationship is one in which the coach is seen as a partner, albeit one with specialized knowledge, but the client is viewed as the expert in his or her own life. Rather than counseling or advising the client as a therapist would, the coach acts as an accountability partner, a support and sounding board, and as someone who helps the client bring forth the answers the client already knows but may not yet be aware of.  Most coaches perform this function by being expert at asking powerful questions.

In both coaching and therapy, the practitioner holds the client’s information in the utmost confidence. Both coaches and therapists embrace the importance confidentiality plays in building a trusting relationship with clients.  Although society’s ideas about therapy have improved over the years, therapy is still somewhat stigmatized for some.  Coaching, on the other hand, appears to be widely accepted and not stigmatized in our society today.  Whether you decide on therapy or coaching is both a personal choice and dependent upon what’s best for your situation.

How do I know if Coaching or Therapy is right for me?
Choosing between coaching and therapy depends upon several factors.  First, what is the nature of your problem or situation? Does it have to do with improving  your performance or changing a pattern of behavior in your life that is clearly identified? Is there one area or one problem you need help with, but everything else is going fairly well? Is there a coaching program that appeals to you and seems to fit with your needs?  If this is your situation, you may want to explore coaching. Coaching is often offered in programs of a certain duration, such as 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, etc, depending upon the complexity of the issue.

But suppose your reasons for seeking help are not so clear.  Are you unsure of what the problem is, or are there two or more issues affecting you at the same time? Are you experiencing symptoms, such as depression, anxiety? Are there things in your past you feel you need to deal with in order to move forward in your life? Are you in a troubled relationship that you would like to fix?  If this more closely describes your situation, then therapy might be a better choice for you.

If either case, you can speak with the practitioner about what you’re looking for and find out whether coaching or therapy is right for you. An ethical practitioner of coaching or therapy will let you know if they believe they are not a good fit for your situation.  They will typically give you referrals to other practitioners who might be better suited to  you in your current situation.


Will the therapist tell me what to do?
No. Some people have the mistaken belief that seeking counseling or therapy is the same thing as turning your decisions over to someone else. In fact, the opposite is true. Consulting with your therapist is part of good decision-making.  As your therapist, I will never take a decision out of your hands, nor ask you to substitute my judgment for your own.


Will the therapist tell us if we should break up?
Instead of telling you both what to decide, I will assist you to explore your feelings and thoughts on the matter, and to look deeply into the hopes and dreams you have for your relationship that underlie the surface situation. But never will I tell you whether you should break up or stay together.


Will therapy help me in a break up?
For most people, a break up is usually a period of great upheaval and a tremendous amount of pain and loss. If you are going through a break up, therapy can provide support and a place to experience feelings without being judged, and when it’s time, a place to begin to heal, and a source of help and planning to move on with your life.


Will therapy help me? Will it change who I am?
Will therapy help me?  Will it change who I am?  These two questions express the mixed feelings people often have when deciding to try therapy. On the one hand, you want to be free of your pain.  Perhaps you even wish someone would tell you what to do. On the other hand, you wonder whether talking with a therapist will risk more, emotionally, than you are comfortable with. These are common questions people often have when considering therapy or counseling.  They are not a cause for concern–they indicate your human tendency toward protecting yourself. As a therapist, I understand the reservations you may have, and how painful things must be for you to consider talking to me, and I respect you for your strength.

The process of therapy will not change the essence of who you are as a person, nor cause you to lose deeply-held values that are important to you. Instead, I will assist you to focus on the reasons you came to therapy, even if all you want is simply to feel better about yourself or your situation. As I mentioned earlier, we will talk about what you want out of therapy, what outcomes you hope to have from it.I make decisions with you, not for you–that is my commitment to you.


If I decide I want to start therapy now, what do I do?
That’s easy!  Just call me for a phone consultation.  Initial consultations are free, always. I’m Leah Cochrane, and I can be reached at 415-710-6615. Or use the calendar on this website to book your own initial consultation. I’d like to hear about what’s brought you to this point, and we can find out if I am the right therapist for you and your situation.

And listen, if it happens that it isn’t going to work for the two of us to work together, don’t worry about it. I’m happy to provide a referral to another therapist, if you like. You’re welcome to call me if you have more questions about me or the services offered, too.