Life Coaching vs Mental Health Counseling

Life Coaching and Mental Health Counseling can both be beneficial to your wellbeing. But what’s the difference? When does it make the most sense to seek help from a licensed counselor instead of a certified life coach? Learn how Carebridge defines these two important—but different—approaches to mental health. 

Life Coaching

A certified life coach is trained to help individuals make positive changes in their life, gain clarity, set goals, and provide accountability. 

Mental Health Counseling

A mental health counselor is a licensed professional who helps individuals improve their cognitive, behavioral, and emotional aspects of mental health. Counselors are licensed to practice their scope of work only in the state in which they are licensed. Many have a master’s degree in psychology, counseling, or social work. And may also hold certifications in specializations such as substance use disorder, trauma, and other areas of psychotherapy. 

When a Life Coach Can Help

If you’re feeling pretty good with your life. But you know you could make some positive changes to improve your overall wellbeing. A certified life coach can help you assess your current lifestyle, define an achievable goal, and develop a plan of action. As well as keep you accountable along the way! Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Improving your sleep
  • Building self-confidence
  • Reducing stress
  • Career planning
  • Exercising more
  • Eating mindfully
  • Getting organized
  • Financial budgeting
  • Parenting
  • Learning to be more assertive
  • Boundary setting

When a Mental Health Counselor Can Help

Imagine you’ve struggled with anxiety and anger for the past year. You don’t understand why your emotions seem to always be bubbling below the surface. Ready to erupt. You’re not even sure what you’re anxious or angry about. But it’s starting to negatively impact your work productivity and family relationships. A licensed counselor will create a safe space for you to identify root causes and heal from the past. Recognize and dismantle old behaviors. And help you develop healthy coping tools to build a better future. Like a life coach, they will also provide accountability along the way.

Times a mental health counselor can help includes, but is not limited to:

  • Trauma
  • Grief and loss
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Substance use disorder or addiction
  • Overwhelm
  • Burnout
  • Anger
  • Relationship conflict
  • Difficult circumstances
  • Gender transition 
  • Self-identity and self-acceptance 
  • Body image issues

Life Coaching Sessions or Therapy?

For current Carebridge members, our EAP call center will recommend the best pathway to care based on your unique circumstance. But if you don’t have an EAP, consider the above lists as a starting point for what may be the best course of action for you. And if you’re still not sure? There are many who believe that working simultaneously with a certified life coach and with a licensed mental health counselor results in better outcomes.