• Dr Houda Ounnas

Coaching and Counselling, what's the difference and which one do I need?

It's the last day of Mental Health Week in the UK! We should all by now know how important our mental health is. Now the question is how to tackle it? If you have decided on getting professional help, where would you start? You have heard of coaching, counselling, CBT, therapies of all types. What is the difference anyway?


Coaching and counselling are both modern language words. Now that we are finally as humanity starting to acknowledge and appreciate mental health issues and the occasional need for professional help. Both disciplines can be used in both mental and physical health.


Coaching is focused on your potential and in helping clients move forward in life. For example, you may have a Tennis or business coach. In terms, of healthcare,a health coach might help you stay on track with your physcial health goals such as weight loss or fitness goals. In mental health, they might be coaching you in staying on track after overcoming depression or self sabotaging relationship patters so that you do not return to what has caused the depression or the unsatisfactory relationships.


Counselling however, is focused on helping you be at peace with yourself and your life. Counsellors are also trained in human development, sexuality, family dynamics, and mental health conditions. Counselling is definitely preferable when dealing with mental and emotional health. Issues often need to be detangled first in the head and the heart, before any goals are set to move forwad. Counselling can also be used for physical health such as counselling patients on difficult decision making, such as pregnancy, fertility treatments, end of life advanced directives, genetic testing etc. Counselling has huge benefits in helping patients, not only make informed choices, but also understand any possible future consequences of decisions they take now.


My verdict as a doctor is that I would prefer counselling for mental health always, and for physical health sometimes. Coaching for physical health goals and for stable mental health where counselling has already taken place and proven effecticve. In fact I do not see how coaching alone could possibly ameliorate mental health. It might make you feel better and manage the tip of the iceberg but it cannot get the root causes of emotional health issues and your trigger buttons.


For more complex problems such as fatigue, I would certainly suggest both a physical and a mental /emotional health assessments to take place hand in hand. Hence, for coaching to start whilst counselling is working in the background.


Wouldn't be nice if coaches and counsellors could work together? However, in reality, there seems to be a mutual criticism and a low key war where coaches accuse counsellors and psychologists of not having developed their tools enough for the modern life. Counsellors in turn critise the apparent superficiality and lack of in depth knowledge and skills in human development and psyche amd mental health conditions that coaches do not train in, so how could they possibly claim to be doing a similar job to counsellors?


At One Doc London, we beliebe in oneness and in that everyone has a role, which is why we developed the C&C servcie Coaching and Counseling. We use combined methods to suit your unique and paticular situation you wish to address. We may mix and macth in harmony to create a multidisciplinary holistic approach that addresses both the specific situation and what has led to it. For example, if you wish for us to coach you on weight loss before your wedding, we will happily do it comibing both a physical health assessment to see if there are medical causes for the weight. As well as coching methods to keep you motivated. If you wish however, to use it as an ooportunity to address deeper reasons as to why you might be of a certain weight, and what emotions you might be dealing with when eating more or exercising less, then that is also your choice, and we can go down the root of counselling or add it on.


Anyway, so now you know the difference and which route you might wish to pursue. If you choose however to come to One Doc London, we would love to help you offering coaching and counselling amalgamated to suit your needs. Whichever route you prefer to pursue, I'm proud of you for taking proactive steps in your health looking up coaching and counselling. Keep setting and achieving health goals and keep moving forward without loosing sight of the inward!



#Mentalhelath #Emotionalhealth #coaching #counselling #CnC #StayInformed

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