How is Coaching Different from Therapy?

Written by Susan Dunn, MA Clinical Psychology, The EQ Coach

Please consider this article for your website or eZine. Permission to reprint if byline stays intact and links are active. You may changerepparttar title if you like. Courtesy copy appreciated.

TITLE: The Difference Between Therapy and Coaching AUTHOR: Susan Dunn, MA, Clinical Psychology WORD COUNT: 1173 WRAP: 60 URL: Photo available:

“The Difference Between Therapy and Coaching,” by Susan Dunn, MA, Clinical Psychology

“Oh,” said Bob, after listening to me explain what I do, “So coaching’s like therapy for healthy people?”

No, because for one thing there are healthy people in therapy, and for another, coaches aren’t doing therapy. In fact this strikes many of us coaches as funny, because we intentionally chose not to be therapists, and so are many therapists. Over 1/3rd ofrepparttar 126207 members ofrepparttar 126208 International Coaching Federation are therapists! In fact, I fitrepparttar 126209 hybrid of many coaches—I have a master’s degree in clinical psychology, but had a career in marketing and PR. Why didn’t I make therapy my profession? I was waiting for coaching to come along.


The field of psychology is at least 100 years old—Freud opened up his consulting room in 1886, andrepparttar 126210 American Psychological Association (APA) was founded in 1892. It is by all accounts experiencing major growing pains right now, and whether it’s labor pains, or death throes remains to be seen. Therapy was originally based onrepparttar 126211 medical model of disease-there was something wrong withrepparttar 126212 patient thatrepparttar 126213 expert must find and then fix. As in “cure.”

Overrepparttar 126214 years, there have been many changes inrepparttar 126215 field of psychology, with new names (Winnicott, Jung, Adler) and new theories (Rational Emotive, Cognitive, Behavioral), but all assuming pathology.

Martin Seligman’s Positive Psychology is a force in a new direction we’re watching carefully, andrepparttar 126216 fact that he’s started a Coaching School shows at least some affinity torepparttar 126217 coaching philosophy.


Coaching evolved to fill a need that wasn’t being met. Haven’t you looked at least once at a professional athlete and said, “If only…” or “Well, sure, when you have that kind of help.” We may not all be 6’5” with superb reflexes, but each of us has a unique set of strengths and just as much raw potential to develop if placed inrepparttar 126218 right hands.

We all know what a professional coach does for an athlete. It’s a combination of teaching specific techniques and skills and a lot of work on “mental attitude,” or whatever it’s being called these days. (I think of it as Emotional Intelligence.) Sports coaches have long been intorepparttar 126219 mind-body connection.

But 10 years ago, who was around to do this for you when you wanted to build a business, or find a new career, or get unstuck, or create a retirement worth living for, or be a more effective father?

Not that you couldn’t do it alone, but it would probably go quicker and better with fresh insight, perspective, and perhaps some specific expertise. Coaches are “change agents,” but also are specialized. You may want someone who can help you with life balance, who understands your field (engineering), who has actually been a single Mother, who has served on a Board, who has built a successful business, who has been a manager or a professor, who has lost 50 pounds, who has helped someone else lose 50 lbs., or who is himself multicultural.


No. Friends and loved ones have their own issues, agendas, perspectives, and points of view. They also “project”—that is, if they are timid, and you want to do something they consider daring, they’’ try and discourage you, and tell you it’s “for your own good.” I’m not talking about bungee jumping; I’m talking about starting your own business at age 50, or moving halfway aroundrepparttar 126220 world, or walking away from a 6-figure job because it’s making you sick.

Sex or Gender - Part II

Written by Sam Vaknin

The Encyclopedia Britannica 2003 edition describesrepparttar formation of ovaries and testes thus:

"Inrepparttar 126206 young embryo a pair of gonads develop that are indifferent or neutral, showing no indication whether they are destined to develop into testes or ovaries. There are also two different duct systems, one of which can develop intorepparttar 126207 female system of oviducts and related apparatus andrepparttar 126208 other intorepparttar 126209 male sperm duct system. As development ofrepparttar 126210 embryo proceeds, eitherrepparttar 126211 male orrepparttar 126212 female reproductive tissue differentiates inrepparttar 126213 originally neutral gonad ofrepparttar 126214 mammal."

Yet, sexual preferences, genitalia and even secondary sex characteristics, such as facial and pubic hair are first order phenomena. Can genetics and biology account for male and female behavior patterns and social interactions ("gender identity")? Canrepparttar 126215 multi-tiered complexity and richness of human masculinity and femininity arise from simpler, deterministic, building blocks?

Sociobiologists would have us think so.

For instance:repparttar 126216 fact that we are mammals is astonishingly often overlooked. Most mammalian families are composed of mother and offspring. Males are peripatetic absentees. Arguably, high rates of divorce and birth out of wedlock coupled with rising promiscuity merely reinstate this natural "default mode", observes Lionel Tiger, a professor of anthropology at Rutgers University in New Jersey. That three quarters of all divorces are initiated by women tends to support this view.

Furthermore, gender identity is determined during gestation, claim some scholars.

Milton Diamond ofrepparttar 126217 University of Hawaii and Dr. Keith Sigmundson, a practicing psychiatrist, studiedrepparttar 126218 much-celebrated John/Joan case. An accidentally castrated normal male was surgically modified to look female, and raised as a girl but to no avail. He reverted to being a male at puberty.

His gender identity seems to have been inborn (assuming he was not subjected to conflicting cues from his human environment). The case is extensively described in John Colapinto's tome "As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl".

HealthScoutNews cited a study published inrepparttar 126219 November 2002 issue of "Child Development". The researchers, from City University of London, found thatrepparttar 126220 level of maternal testosterone during pregnancy affectsrepparttar 126221 behavior of neonatal girls and renders it more masculine. "High testosterone" girls "enjoy activities typically considered male behavior, like playing with trucks or guns". Boys' behavior remains unaltered, according torepparttar 126222 study.

Yet, other scholars, like John Money, insist that newborns are a "blank slate" as far as their gender identity is concerned. This is alsorepparttar 126223 prevailing view. Gender and sex-role identities, we are taught, are fully formed in a process of socialization which ends byrepparttar 126224 third year of life. The Encyclopedia Britannica 2003 edition sums it up thus:

"Like an individual's concept of his or her sex role, gender identity develops by means of parental example, social reinforcement, and language. Parents teach sex-appropriate behavior to their children from an early age, and this behavior is reinforced asrepparttar 126225 child grows older and enters a wider social world. Asrepparttar 126226 child acquires language, he also learns very earlyrepparttar 126227 distinction between "he" and "she" and understands which pertains to him- or herself."

So, which is it - nature or nurture? There is no disputingrepparttar 126228 fact that our sexual physiology and, in all probability, our sexual preferences are determined inrepparttar 126229 womb. Men and women are different - physiologically and, as a result, also psychologically.

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