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Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Difference Between Life Coaching and Therapy

Due to experiencing traumatic events, is your life stagnant? Has confusion overtaken your thoughts? Do you feel emotional wounds of your past? Are you experiencing flashbacks? Do you want something more out of your life? Are you ready for a change? Ready to heal? 

If your answer to all these questions is yes, maybe you should consider life coaching as an alternative to your trauma issues. Life coaching is a valid alternative path to change, healing, wellness, and success. As the result of experiencing abuse or trauma, you become more skilled at surviving and not performing in healthy life. Trauma coaching is a new path that can break the old habits of just surviving and move you to function better with new daily skills.

A recent article in USA Today was very enlightening in that the journalist stated that many people are searching to be more skillful in life. The USA Today’s article titled is "Life-Coaches – All The Rage."  written by Karen S. Peterson, a journalist at USA TODAY, wrote:

"Personal growth is hot. Diagnosis is not. That is one reason America has seen a boom in the number of people offering their services as "life coaches." These guides give clients the confidence to get unstuck — to change careers, repair relationships, or simply get their act together."

Ms. Peterson then quoted life coach Laura Berman Fortgang:

"We are not talking about being incompetent or weak. They are everyday, normal people who have their lives together. They realize the value of having somebody to help them think outside the box."

People who seek therapy or coaching are not much different. Both want to change their lives. I want to help you look at the difference between the two.

Is Traditional the Best Answer for All?

Therapy has been around for over 100 years since the days of Sigmund Freud. There are many good points about therapy treatment. I know! I was a therapist for 38 plus years. I witnessed many clients get help, but many did not. Why?

What Therapy Does?

Therapy's objective is to help a person deal with personal problems and issues that need to be analyzed and solved. The process of treatment is about reflecting on the person's past and seeking the cause or root of the problem. Treatment assumes that the person has a problem, or mental illness, and is based on a disease model.
Therapy is an answer-oriented process. What does that mean? A person who seeks treatment will tell the therapist his or her problems, and then ask, "What do I do?" In therapy, the accountability is on the therapist to give the right answer. 

Also, inherent in therapy, the critical factors are #1 having a good therapist. If you do, then your therapist will give you the correct answer or the right insight, and treatment plan therefore everything will be okay. With the right answer or advice, the person's life will go forward. In therapy, there is no accountability for the person to do what is suggested though by the therapist. Also, a therapist's primary focus is on events in the person's past to discover where the problem originated. 

A significant disadvantage of therapy is that therapy is based on the medical model. Because of treatment being a medical model, the client gets a diagnosis. This label will follow the client for the rest of his or her life. 

Another issue is if a person says they are in therapy, another person may think that "there is something wrong" with them. People, in general, assume there was something wrong with the person’s brain, mind or spirit, even if they had worked on their issues to the point of being restored to good health. The shadow of illness is always there.

Another disadvantage is that if a person has a "disease," they must take medicine. Many times, medication can create problems, physically and mentally. Psychiatric drugs are potent and can hinder the feeling of emotions which need to be felt to heal. So you see, there are many reasons why people have avoided the therapist’s couch at all costs.

What Is Life Coaching?

Life coaching is a relatively new field. A lot of people find it hard to embrace life coaching and raise their eyebrows at the possibility.  Life coaching is such a new field which is virtually unregulated at this point. Does that mean it is not useful? No. Business leaders, professional athletes, artists, and entertainers have known about coaches for a long time. These groups have used coaches for decades to help them become more productive and successful. Just like therapists, there are good coaches and bad ones. The USA Today article stated:

"Life coaches are a new option for the worried well — those whose lives are only slightly askew. No longer do they need a diagnosis from a psychotherapist who delves into the painful past." 

The objective of life coaching is to assist a person in formulating what his or her life intentions are, to uncover deep beliefs which might be barriers to his or her positive movement, and to move forward successfully. Life coaching assumes that the person lacks the skill to move out of a comfort zone and get more out of life. Life coaching is a teaching experience, just like a sports coach who trains, teaches and directs athletics or a team to win games and work toward having greater confidence and being number one among their peers.

Life coaching is a question and assignment-oriented process. What does that mean?  Life coaching is an active process. Learning, instituting suggested change and practice. A person who seeks to coach tells the coach his or her intentions or goals, and then the coach asks, "What do you want to do about it?” The coach might also ask, “What is the one thing you could do today that would radically change your life?" Coaching believes that the answer is in the heart and mind of the person wanting to coach and not on the coach. It is the method or strategy the coach uses which does the help … not the coach himself. The coach is a coach, guide, teacher, mentor, motivator or team member to assist the person in learning new skills to break down blocks that impede performance and success.  Accountability is the responsibility of the person … not the coach. In coaching, with the right question and assignment given by the coach, the answers, and appropriate action steps will be revealed. The person is consciously accomplishing, following through, and responsible for completing the agreed action plan. If the person follows through and finishes his or her action plan, then the positive movement will be achieved.

In sports, it has always been right, the more athletic practices their skills, the great his or her confidence becomes and more proficient become in that sport. This is also true in life. A coach can help a person who is having blocks in business, communication issues, health issues, job issues, financial problems, nutrition issues, physical wellness, mindset, work, relationships, romance, self-esteem, and even spirituality. 

A block is mostly due to lack of skill. Once an ability has been achieved, and the person practices the new skills, a higher confidence level is gained. Therefore, why not view life as the accumulation of different sports (areas) in which to become more proficient? As proficiency increases so do your levels of performance.

Gender Differences

The USA Today article sited Life Coach Patrick Williams from Colorado,

"Coaching is especially popular with men, who respond favorably to a term from sports. Seventy percent of the caseloads in therapy are women; 60% in coaching are men." Williams went on to say "life coaching will change the face of psychotherapy, helping people live a better life without the stigma of needing a diagnosis (disease model) or a visit to a psychotherapist they don't want or need."

After Thoughts

If you feel stuck or blocked in your life, consider what you really need before you choose a path. Both life coaching and psychotherapy have a place. Knowing the difference can benefit you greatly.

Life coaching is more for a person seeking positive changes, reducing anxiety or stress, increase confidence or esteem, find solutions to problems, wish to enhance their self and life skills. Sometimes, these folks are called “the worried well.” A life coach teaches you how to be what you honestly wish and want to be through action, custom assignments, mindfulness, education, being proactive, skill acquisition and practice. Then a coach supports you in being accountable and managing your growth.

Life Coaching is about the coach asking the right question. Life coaching's central belief is the client holds their own answer to how to change. If life coaching's philosophy believes if the coach asks the right questions, then the correct answer will be revealed by the client.

If a person has a more severe or long-term mental illness-related issue, then therapy should be the choice. A therapist helps you in the discovery and understanding why you are the way you are today due to what you have experienced or acquired growing up. 

Therapy is an answering process. What does that mean? The client tells the therapist his or her problems, and the therapist tells the client the answers. Generally, medication is one of the solutions.

Now of course, if your issues are out of the life coach's scope of practice, then it is necessary for a coach to refer the person to a licensed psychotherapist, social worker, marriage, and family counselor, or psychiatrist for assessment, and treatment.

Do you identify with any one or all of these statements?

1.  Am I unable to complete and be accountable for my                           assignments and action plan that I committed to doing? 

2.  I am unable to move forward? I keep going back to my old 
    behavioral patterns. I can't seem to or unable help myself? I            become angry and won't let go of my resentments, old emotional 
    hurts or past pains? 

3. I just feel very disconnected from myself. I just feel like I 

    can't control my behaviors, thoughts or feelings. 
    I feel I am out of control.

If any of these statements resonate with you, you may find your issues are more emotional, and less personal development. You would probably benefit more from working with a therapist, than a life coach.

Coaches are Part of a Team and Shouldn't be an Island

Having decades of experience in both areas, as a therapist and a life coach, I would like to offer a note of caution to the less experienced coaches out there. The power of coaching comes from their program, not the coach as a person. Know your limits as a coach. Don't attempt to see a client through just a coaching lens. See them as a person who is searching for their own answer.

A life coach needs to have a referral list of trusted professionals who you can consult and get a referral. Watch for warning signs which point to the need for qualified licensed professionals. Where there is a family in dangerous circumstances due to alcohol/drug use, violence/abuse/aggression, or emotional turmoil, a qualified and certified family therapist should always be consulted. Where an individual is showing a sign of depression, who seems to have strong negative opinions of himself and the depression doesn't seem to be waning, or some other signs of mental instability (radical mood swings, etc.), then a qualified mental health practitioner should be engaged as soon as possible. Just as important as knowing your professional talents and abilities, is also essential to identify the areas where you do not have the expertise. Be quick to consult with or refer your client to the right professional if dangerous situations are threatening. 

Here is the link if you want to read the original article.

About the Author

The author, Coach Bill Tollefson is a Master Certified Life, Mind and Holistic Addiction Recovery Coach in Southwest Florida. Coach Bill brought all his education (Ph.D., MA, BA), expertise, training and practice experience of 40 years as a psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, reality therapist and licensed addiction counselor as well as 10 years as a certified life and mind coach to his life coaching practice. 

For more information on my website and click here to download a free  
         Coach Bill 

Relaxation For a Wounded Soul

Survivors of abuse and trauma of all types, minor or complex, share a common bond and that is a wounded Soul. Seek relaxation through meditation and by doing so, will allow your Soul a moment of freedom, inspiration, and healing. 

After all these years of comforting and nurturing my own wounded Soul and helping others to heal theirs, I truly know that it is possible to heal the wounds. Once the wounds are the Soul soars and are stronger than before.


You deserve to take the time to relax with you. Enjoy the few moments during this video with you and embrace your essence. Be free again!!

Please make a comment at the bottom, share your ideas or contact me with questions. For help to heal your wounded Soul at

Don’t forget to keep up on all my blogs and self-improvement tips.
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Find out about new skills that can help you make a positive change to yourself or your life by taking the Free Mini Challenge to see if the 30 Day Mind Changing Challenge will work for you.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Change Traumatic Thinking in 30 Days

Are you conflicted in your head all the time? Does you feel that your relationship with yourself is not good? Maybe is is because of the way your believe about yourself? 
Trauma robs survivors of not only their identities but also alters their beliefs toward themselves.

“Change can’t begin until core beliefs are brought to the forefront.” 

Let me ask you some questions.
"Don't you know who you are really?”                 
"Do you want too?”

Think about it. Are you tired of the way you are and want to seriously change? Well if you are, for the past year and a half, my team and I have been working on and testing a product that will help answer those questions and more. Discover what is blocking you from knowing you.  

A Way for Change

That product is here and it is call the 30 Day Mind Changing Challenge. It is a self help tool that in 30 days you can discover what is holding you back, keeping you stuck in the past, causing you to sabotage yourself in the present or fearful of moving forward.

How? By being able to discover, tap into and then restructure your own personal philosophy. This groundbreaking tool can help you do this in the comfort of your home, at your own pace. Just think in 30 days your personal philosophy can be changed. In one month your core beliefs that govern and regulate you identity can be recognized, identified the ones blocking you and shift them to positive This 30 day Mind Changing Challenge radically changes how you act, feel, think, and react, not only to yourself but to others and the world. Once you make a positive change everything around you must and will change.

What products are available?

1.   New FREE Membership Website dedicated to Dr Bill’s new Personal Philosophy Method
       It offers videos on many self growth issues, and educational mini webinars.

     2.    Dr Bill’s 2nd book - Personal Philosophy Method downloadable for free as a member.

    3.   Free Live Journal just for being a member that only you can access. Document daily changes.

    4.   30 Day Mind Changing Challenge available separately as a purchased product. It offers a challenge  calendar containing 30 days of daily assignments that guides you through the process. Along with daily supporting videos. Testimonials from individuals who have already experienced change. 

    5.    New Making a Positive Change Facebook page dedicated to only positiveness. Visit, LIKE and begin sharing all the positive things in your life. No negativism allowed.

Well I am extremely excited. Many have expressed their desire to coach with Dr. Bill but could not afford it. 30 Day Life Changing Challenge is an affordable way to go through 4 months of Dr. Bill’s style of intense coaching in 30 days. The 30 Day Challenge will change you and your life. This product will help you recognize and understand YOU, your mind code and then guide you through restructuring your whole personal philosophy. The challenge is for individuals with traumatic histories, with addictions or just unhappy with their lives. Everyone can benefit.    Check out all the new products.