Answers You Need: Psychotherapy or Coaching?

Psychotherapy & Mental Health Counseling

Personal Coaching


  • Traditional psychotherapy and mental health counseling
  • Assesses, diagnoses and treats mental health disorders and their symptoms so that you can return to "normal" functioning
  • Medical reductionist model, most typically seeing human psychology as a result of biology/biochemistry
  • Consciousness is unexplained, but thought to be an "epiphenomenon" or product of brain physiology
  • Can be covered by mental health insurance
  • HIPAA and legal confidentiality apply


  • Holistic psychotherapy and mental health counseling
  • Assesses, diagnoses and treats mental health disorders
  • Integrates traditional and complementary approaches to mental health treatment
  • Wholeness model, sees you through the lens of the whole - mind, body, spirit, as well as in relationship with your environment
  • Consciousness is typically considered "transpersonal" in nature, beyond the brain and person
  • Can also be covered by mental health insurance, but often as out-of-network
  • HIPAA and legal confidentiality apply

Holistic Life Coaching

  • Focuses on personal and spiritual growth, helping you move from "normal", toward fulfilling your goals and vast potential
  • Wholeness model, sees you through the lens of the whole - mind, body, energy, spirit, as well as in relationship with others and your environment
  • Can integrate traditional approaches to mental well-being such as reducing negative thinking, optimizing positive attitudes, improving clarity and focus
  • Can integrate complementary, eastern and western, approaches to well-being (e.g. meditation, mind-body-energy-soul connection)
  • Guides you to catch habits in the way of your progress, and to develop new patterns that facilitate your successes
  • Helps you identify and live your authentic self, to maximize your sense of well-being in life
  • Consciousness is considered "transpersonal" in nature, beyond the brain and person
  • Not treatment for mental health disorders, so HIPAA and legal confidentiality don't apply



Holistic Life Coaching with Valerie is for you when you feel like you don't have a mental health disorder, but you'd love help achieving your personal, relationship or spiritual goals.

When You're Struggling With

  • Goals you'd like to achieve, but need support
  • Life feels out-of-balance
  • Thinking about changing careers
  • Confused, don't know what to do next
  • Stuck, frustrated
  • Habits, patterns holding you back
  • Overwhelmed, stressed
  • Heartbreak, grief, loss
  • Sad, lack energy
  • Feel insecure making some big decisions
  • Relationships not working anymore
  • Too much negative self-talk
  • Need to make sense of strong emotions

I Can Help You

  • Find direction
  • Take doable steps
  • Renew your sense of self
  • Clarify goals for you life
  • Increase energy and confidence
  • Learn constructive thinking habits
  • Set healthy boundaries
  • Get back your authentic self
  • Prevent and manage chronic stressors
  • Learn when to say "no"
  • Recognize relationships right for you
  • Find meaning & purpose
  • Know when to do which career move
  • Discover joy

Other General Answers About Coaching

Let's further consider the pros and cons of coaching in general, what it is great for, and what it should never be used for.

Coaching is never to be a treatment for a mental health disorder. That is why it is not covered by your mental health insurance plan and is always private pay. It is not covered by legal confidentiality or HIPAA because coaching processes/records are not medical records. If any coach begins to suspect that you may be in need of treatment for a mental health disorder, they should immediately refer you to licensed providers.

While the practice of psychotherapy is licensed by each state, the practice of coaching is not. While anyone can call themselves a coach, the best coaches tend to elect formal training and certification in their specialty. Always ask any coach you may consider hiring about their degrees, training, certification, and experience. Coaches who are also licensed as psychotherapists or counselors will have that extended level of training; they may choose to offer coaching services as a path to help you transcend "normal" and really begin to excel.

Now the benefits!

Your coach is focused on helping you thrive, not merely function. ("Normal" doesn't necessarily mean healthy and thriving. Just look around!)

Coaching tends to be the preferred way to go for those who seek to take their personal or spiritual growth beyond the "normal" human ways of living (e.g. life coaches, spiritual life coaches, meditation coaches), or to take their business to the next level up (e.g. business coaches). Since it is not psychotherapy for "clinically significant dysfunction", you will not receive a diagnosis in your medical record as part of coaching.

Coaching may be just what you need if you get up and go to work, and return to your home to kiss your family or pets, but don't really feel that happy or fulfilled. For instance, you may wonder why you feel stuck and going through the routine of it all, sad about the state of the planet, and wondering how you might be more meaningfully involved, or how you might turn your career into your life purpose or mission.