Using EFT Tapping to Reduce Stress

I have been wanting to write about Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT Tapping for some time now. Today kicks off the 12th annual Tapping World Summit [1]so it’s finally time. For the next 10 days, thought leaders in the world of psychology, medicine, science, and holistic healing will be coming together to share insights and strategies for reducing stress using Emotional Freedom Technique. Before I go any further, I want to say that I am not paid or rewarded for plugging this event, I just love it and my clients love it too! The summit is free, completely online, packed full of amazing in-vivo tapping experiences, and will be attended by over 600,000 people worldwide. Head over to to register. You also watch my quick YouTube tutorial on the EFT basics. Now, let’s talk about tapping.

Let’s start with the basics- what is tapping and why should I use it?  Simply put, tapping is a somatic healing process in which you tap along your own body’s acupressure points while speaking about or recalling a distressing event, thought, or feeling.  In the process of tapping the sequence of 8 pressure points along your body’s meridians (or energy lines), you are sending calming signals to your amygdala. This means that while you are recalling something stressful, traumatic, or disturbing, your body cannot actually become fully distressed.  Should you try to recall a stressful event or feeling without calming your brain simultaneously, you will become flooded or triggered and you will feel worse. I bet that most of us have had this experience before!  So, why use tapping?  It’s simple.  Use tapping to process and release memories, thoughts, and feelings that are no longer serving to you.  Put another way, use Emotional Freedom Technique, to help you feel the way you want to feel.

It is important to understand that the amygdala, which is part of the limbic system, is the ‘flight or fight’ center of the brain. If the amygdala detects danger in any form, it goes into action to protect you and keep you safe. And, our brains have a huge ‘negativity basis’ which makes it much easier and instinctive for us to detect hints of darkness than rays of sunshine.  This part of the brain is ancient (unlike our prefrontal cortex) and it has served us well over the past couple of hundreds of thousands of years!  The amygdala’s response is very important when you are faced with a real danger such as coming face-to-face with a bear while hiking the Appalachian Trail. But, most of our day to day stressors are not, in fact, dangerous. So, when we are having anxiety or panic attacks, our brains are reacting as if we are in danger when we are actually just in discomfort.

It is also important to note that our brains cannot fully distinguish between the recall of a disturbing memory or the actual unfolding event. This is why we feel triggered by reliving past traumas through nightmares, rumination, and flashbacks. The positive side of this reality is that we also gain amazing benefits when recall happy memories.  Again, the brain and body’s somatic response to recalling the happiness you felt as you were surrounded by your family on your wedding day is very similar to your somatic response when you are actually walking down the aisle. Our brains are powerful. We just need to know how to use them to our advantage!   

EFT is an evidence-based treatment model that clinicians and coaches can use with their clients. But what I like best about Emotional Freedom Technique is that once I teach my clients how to use it, they have that tool accessible to them forever more. Unlike other modalities like massage, acupuncture, or EMDR, my clients can use this skill without me.  I love empowering my clients and this is definitely a tool of empowerment. 

One study[2] reported in the prominent medical journal, The Journal of Traumatic Stress Disorders & Treatment, concluded that EFT was superior to Exposure Therapy (a traditional therapy modality for anxiety disorders, depression and PTSD) in their study of 60 students with post-traumatic stress disorder in Baghdad City.   There is a growing body of evidence about the link between the mind and body and this is just one such report.  Needless to say, EFT tapping is an effective way to reduce minor, as well as major, stressors.  Are you ready to get started yet?

To tap, you simply need to create some space and time to attend to yourself.  Set aside at least 20 minutes and grab a pen and paper. Consider setting aside 20-30 minutes a day for the next two weeks to dedicate to forming a routine of tapping.  Start by writing down your most predominant distressing feeling and give it a SUDs (Subjective Units of Distress) rating of 1- 10.

We’ll use the following scenario for our example. You and your spouse have just had another blow-up about money. It’s your third fight this month about your spending habits. The pressure is mounting in your relationship. You are scared, sad, anger and worried about the money, your marriage, your future. You rate your anger at 7/ 10 SUDs, worry at 8/10 SUDs, and fear at 5/10 SUDs.  Start with tapping on your anxiety as this is the heaviest feeling. To do this, simply follow the sequence [3] below.

  1. Karate Chop (KC)
  2. Eyebrow (EB)
  3. Side of Eye (SE)
  4. Under Eye (UE)
  5. Chin (CP)
  6. Collarbone (CB)
  7. Under Arm (UA)
  8. Top of Head (TH)

While tapping on the KC point say, aloud, your set-up statement.  Your set-up statement may sound like this:

  • “Even though I have all this anxiety about my relationship, I deeply and completely love and accept myself”
  •  “Even though I am worried about this fight, I fully love and accept myself”
  •  “Even though my marriage is in trouble, I fully accept myself”
  • “Even though our finances are a mess, I deeply love myself”

The point is to find a sentence that works for you and then repeat it 3x while tapping on your KC point (Either hand will do, your meridians are bilateral unless they run through your midline- i.e. chin, top of head,  and under nose points). A good set-up statement has 2 parts; it acknowledges the issue in plain terms and then it states a gesture of self-love.  This can be tough for some people.  You may have difficulty saying that you love yourself or accept yourself with these so-called flaws.  If that’s the case, my best advice is to say it anyway because this will start the process of change you are seeking. You may feel uncomfortable but that’s okay. Do not mistake distress for danger.

Your first round of tapping will have you tapping on each point 5-8 times while repeating a simplified version of your problem. This is called ‘truth tapping’.  You must speak your truth to move through it. You have probably already tried, unsuccessfully, to ‘stay positive’ or ‘find the bright side’ of the situation but you cannot authentically do that until you speak your truth. Do not miss this step!  Following our example of marriage and financial issues, your first round or two of tapping may be as simple as you tapping through the sequence while saying things such as:

  • “All this anxiety”
  • “So much worry about my marriage”
  • “I’m overwhelmed by our finances”
  • “My finances will never get better”
  • “I’m afraid my spouse will leave me”
  • “It’s never going to get better”
  • “I can’t stick to the budget”
  • “We might lose our home”
  • “I can’t do anything right”

Now is the time to speak your truth regarding your current situation, as it pertains to your set-up statement.  Don’t hold back and don’t be afraid to let out some tears. Remember what we already learned.  The process of tapping on your acupressure points is calming down your limbic system. This means that although it’s distressing to acknowledge this pain, you will not be uncontrollably triggered.

Keep tapping like this for a few rounds then pause, check in, and see if anything in your thoughts, feelings, or somatic body has changed.  Has the worry lessened; if so, by how much? Write it down. Has worry been replaced by an overwhelming feeling of anger towards your spouse?  Maybe this situation is reminding you an ex-partner who cheated you out of your life’s savings or maybe you are recalling a turbulent childhood memory centered around lack of money.  Whatever is coming up as you tap is extremely valuable.  Tapping gives you the tools to peel back the layers of your pain and see what’s hiding beneath the surface.  Maybe your heart rate lowered, raised, or fluttered? Maybe you developed a headache or you notice your belly is churning.  Although this may feel uncomfortable, it’s actually a good sign that you are uncovering the root of the problem and therefore, acknowledging and releasing your pain.

Continue tapping through the 8 points- either tap on your worry, or create a new set-up statement if anxiety is no longer where you want to go.  Trust yourself. I cannot stress this enough. The biggest mistake that people make with tapping is not trusting their intuition. You cannot go wrong; whatever is arising needs to be addressed.  So, keep tapping on your truth and keep tapping through the points until you feel the charge of the situation neutralize. After every 3-5 rounds of tapping, pause, check-in, reflect and rate your feelings.  Is the worry still 8/10 SUDs or is it now 6/10 SUDs or maybe worry has been replaced with something else?  Keep a written record because by the end of this, you cannot rely on your memory! You will be encouraged as you look back at your journal of where you started and how far you’ve come.  Please write it down!

Once you feel your body and mind relax as you release the limiting beliefs about this situation, you are ready to shift toward a more hopeful dialogue.  Now you can begin tapping through the 8 points with statements such as:

  • “Maybe I am ready to let go of this anger”
  • “I wonder if I could see this differently”
  • “I am letting go of the pain”
  • “I am releasing the anger”
  • “I am ready to try something new”
  • “I am thankful that my spouse is there for me”
  • “I would like control my budget better”
  • “I am capable and worthy of financial health”
  • “I am worthy of a healthy relationship”
  • “It’s going to be okay”
  • “I trust myself”

Again, you are speaking your truth and you are giving yourself hope for the future. You want to be authentic and hopeful but stay realistic. Authenticity is the key. For Emotional Freedom Technique to work, you must believe what you are saying. Be realistic while remaining hopeful. Give yourself a glimpse of a different future.  When your words shift from “I’ll always be in debt” to “Maybe I can learn fiscal responsibility” to “I am worthy of financial independence” you are allowing yourself to envision a new, different, and improved reality. Tap like this for a few more rounds then pause, check-in, and see how you are feeling. Keep writing your feelings and rating them in your journal.  Continue to peel back the layers of your pain and suffering so that you can release these old patterns of beliefs and past traumas.   When your body is calm and you worry has reduced to a 2/10 SUDs or below, you can take a break.   

Some people experience profound change in a matter of moments; you can read miracle stories all over the internet and I have certainly witnessed them as a EFT practitioner but do not be discouraged if you do not experience a ‘one hit wonder’.   For most of us, tapping is a tool that will be used over and over again to release pain and build a healthy mindset. 

While working through this example, we touched briefly on a few distressing feelings like anxiety, depression, and anger.  But please know that EFT tapping can be used to release pain of any sort.  Tapping is regularly used for:

  • Weight loss
  • Self-esteem
  • Confidence
  • Chronic pain
  • Body Confidence
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Financial independence
  • Smoking cessation
  • Happiness
  • Phobias
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Anger Management
  • Mindset Shifts
  • Inner-child work
  • Trauma/ PTSD/ Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Inner peace during difficult political situations

While some of these topics are more easily addressed alone with yourself, other topics are more commonly addressed with a trained professional. If you are suffering from PTSD or a severe trauma, it would be prudent to seek the help of a skilled therapist or counselor who can create a safety net and support system for you as you work through these experiences. As a therapist and coach, I regularly work with clients in this manner. We often tackle the most daunting issues together in the safety of the session. When the client is comfortable with their tapping skills, then they are free to work independently, if they wish. As with any self-help or self-improvement exercise, no book or webinar can take the place of working with a trained professional. Always use your wisdom and judgment when embarking on a healing journey.  Your safety is of paramount importance!

If you would like to learn more about me and how I might help you use EFT to create peace and reduce stress in your life, I invite you to connect with me.  Head over to my website,  or email me at . You can also follow me on Instagram or Facebook @curiositylifecoachingandreiki.

Carrie Mead, MS,  EFT Practitioner,
Curiosity Life Coaching
Carrie Mead, MS, LCPC

Carrie Mead, MS is a Professional Life Coach, Psychotherapist, and Reiki practitioner based in Maryland. Carrie created Curiosity Life Coaching to help men and women successfully navigate major life transitions such as retirement, divorce, career changes, and loss. Carrie provides guidance, support and empowering exercises to help her clients redefine and enact on their life’s mission following a major life change. Connecting authentically and compassionately forms the basis of all of Carrie’s personal and professional relationships. Carrie holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from McDaniel College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Gettysburg College. Learn more by visiting




Navigating the Seasons of Life

Using the seasons as a guide when you are in the midst of a major life transition

Carrie Mead, MS
Transitions Coach
Carroll County, MD, USA

At times, life is tough and at times, it is absolutely perfect.  Have you ever noticed the ebb and flow of the seasons of your own life?  There are times the stars align and everything you desire comes into fruition- a pay increase, a new romance, the perfect puppy… all at once.  You sit back and wonder how you got so lucky. You bask in the sunlight and abundance that life has afforded you. You keep working hard and enjoying the ride. You have great work ethic and your friends know that they can count on you.  Life is good. 

As a Seasons of Change coach, we refer to this time as the season of summer. Summer may last for months, or it may be a fleeting moment, but when we are experiencing the joy of summer there is no doubt that we are loved, supported, and capable of great things.  However, no season lasts forever.  Life is fluid and everchanging. You may be blissfully unaware that change is coming while you are enjoying the summer sun. However, if you are a person prone to anxiety, you may miss the joy of summer as you worry about the foreboding change that you just know is lurking around the corner (even though you have no evidence of such change). You may even miss the harvest you created due to these anxious, intrusive thoughts.  Either way, whether you are enjoying your summer or worrying about when it will end, change is coming. It always does.

Change is not inherently bad or scary.  Change can be exciting and wonderful.  Welcoming a new baby into your life, getting married, or finally retiring are often changes that are much anticipated, planned for, and joyful. But what happens when you do not experience the overwhelming happiness with this positive change that you thought you would?  You might be very confused by this counter-intuitive feeling and you may wonder what’s wrong with yourself.  Nothing’s wrong, you are just are just in the midst of a major life transition and your world is changing. No big deal. Right? 

On the other hand, sometimes uninvited change shows up in our life.  Perhaps we receive a life-changing health diagnosis as we are training for our next marathon or our company announces a merger which will involve major lay-offs just after we received an awesome promotion. These types of transitions are thrust upon us, often at warp speed.  Instantly, we are overcome by fear and we try desperately to keep things exactly as they have always been. It seems like only a minute ago we were enjoying our feast and now the crop is gone and we are left unprepared, scared, and alone.  Following the Seasons of Change model, we call this the season of fall.  As you might expect, fall comes into our life when things change.  Just as the summer’s warmth and sunshine is always followed by falling leaves and squirrels collecting nuts, so to in our lives, does this metaphor exist.

When faced with an unexpected or unwelcome change we may rush to restore balance in our life. We may jump at the first new job opportunity after getting laid-off or rush into a new relationship as soon as our divorce papers are signed. We may sell our home and move to a new city to start afresh or we may busy ourselves with our friends’ problems, binge-watching movies, and never-ending happy hours to avoid being alone with our thoughts.   When we throw ourselves into endless activity, we are trying to avoid our feelings about the situation.  We are trying to pass the time until those feelings and thoughts magically disappear.  Of course, this is a fruitless attempt at avoiding pain but it’s an understandable and natural human response.  We are conditioned to work hard, at all costs, and we are certainly not usually encouraged to take time and space away from productivity to ‘find ourselves’. 

The truth is this, as we enter a time of change, there is no going back.  Things will be different as we move forward. Again, different is not bad, it is just different.  If you can make that distinction in your mindset and your internal chatter, you will feel calmer. If you continue to ruminate on how bad things are and how they will never, ever, get better, you certainly will feel worse. Test it out. See what you think! I would advise you to decide how you’d like to feel first (peaceful, calm, confident would be my choices) and then set your internal chatter to create those feelings.

When you come to accept that the season of summer is over, for now, at least for this one aspect of your life, you can also come to accept that fall has arrived. Accepting that that you are in the midst of a change is the first step. Sometimes, just acknowledging and accepting that you are entering a transitionary  phase is enough to move you on to your next season. As you probably guessed, you are heading into winter, whether you like it or not. Change is coming. It always does.

In my experience as a professional life coach, this is the season that most people fear and it tends to be the time when people reach out for my wisdom, guidance, and support.  Many people have tried wintering alone, and feel stuck and hopeless. Others have gone through tough transitions in their life before and they know what they need based on past experience. If you have previously and successfully navigated a winter season, it’s possible that this next season will be milder and shorter than your first winter. However, every transition is different and you, as a person, are evolving and changing too. Perhaps this time around you have more support from your friends and an abundance of financial resources, or, perhaps you have gotten divorced and lost your job in the same year. 

Although life is complicated, there is always a silver lining. Despite the fact that many winters are long and dark, you can grow, develop, and learn so much about yourself in this season… if you do the inner-work.  What that means and how to do it will depend on a number of things. Suffice to say that this is why many clients reach out to professionals, like me, in this dark time.  Remember, winter is not all doom and gloom. Think of the season of winter as a time to rejuvenate, restore, and refocus on yourself. Allow yourself to stay in bed a little longer or say no to social events that seem draining rather than nourishing.  If you have brain-fog, difficulty concentrating, lack of motivation, and a desire to stay home in quiet contemplation, you’re most likely in the depths of winter.  That’s okay.  Spring always follows winter so you won’t be here forever. Stay the course, glean insights about yourself, and give yourself what you need in this tender time. Change is coming. It always does.

You will know that spring is near because you will start to feel the wrestling of the desire for increased activity. You might feel slightly more alert and you may even crave more human connection that you did last season.  Think of a hibernating bear; no one knocks on his den door to tell him to wake up. He intuitively knows it’s time to begin moving his limbs. He’s rested well and as he comes back into consciousness, he starts to desire things that he has forgotten about like food and sunshine.  You too, will sense winter morphing into spring. It may take you by surprise or you may have been eagerly awaiting this day. Either way, wake-up slowly and come into the light again… in your own time.  This transformation is not a time for making big decisions nor committing to  a new business venture nor entering a new marriage. It’s a time for testing the waters and experimenting. It’s a time for creativity, fertility, and reemergence.  This is the time when the clouds start lift and hope returns to your life. It’s also the time to look at your progress. How far have you come since your summer turned into fall and your fall into winter?  Reflect on what you have learned in the process of change and marvel at how strong you have become.  Take notice if you even feel like the same person you were last summer?

Whatever transition you went through, you have navigated it well, thus far. The journey is not over yet but you are getting closer to your next season. Life is definitely different than it was last summer. Maybe you are now a single working mother, or maybe you have just moved across the country for you dream job but you had to leave behind friends and family, or maybe you have come to learn how to handle a challenging health condition.  You have made progress and you have nourished yourself to get this far. 

Allow spring to be the time when you intentionally and thoughtfully try out new ideas. Reintroduce yourself to the world.  Plants reintroduce themselves each spring and they are a welcome reminder that spring always comes no matter how dark the winter was.  No one forgets the beauty of the first yellow daffodil against the brown terrain nor do they forget the hypnotic scent of striking purple hyacinth.  Everyone is happy to see their beauty again and your friends and family will be happy to greet you into their community once more.  Don’t get too comfortable here because as you begin show yourself to the world, things are changing. They always do. 

At some point you will realize you feel relaxed, confident, secure again.  Life has a new vibrancy and appeal that has been missing for a long time. You have finally found your groove and you feeling excited to share yourself with others again.  You have a sense that your foundation is strong and you know that you are resourceful enough to navigate any passing storms. You feel grounded in the knowledge that you are stronger than you ever thought and no matter how the world may try to knock you down, you are confident that you will rise again.  You know that you won’t just come back as a spruced-up version of your old- self. You will come back from these challenges alert, empowered, focused and compassionate. You will come back evolved and new.

If nothing else, you have learned to love yourself through each season. You have found a new respect for your abilities and your limitations. Maybe you rediscovered your faith or made a new friend a long the way. Maybe you found out that you are actually quite good at writing poetry or maybe you learned to meditate.  Whatever your learned along the way will serve you well this summer and for next fall.   Whatever happens this summer, don’t forget to celebrate your success. Don’t dismiss the arduous challenges you have overcome and certainly don’t try to move the goal post on yourself as you are about the cross the finish line.  Summer is a season to embrace and celebrate.  Enjoy it because things are changing.  They always do.  

If you are in the process of weathering a storm, anticipating a change, or stuck in long dark winter, reach out to me.  I can act as your guide through the tumultuous times you are facing. Together we will establish a roadmap for your journey. We will calm the inner fires that feel chaotic both internally and externally. We will use the seasons to guide us through these changes and you will emerge through the process with a new sense of purpose and appreciation of yourself and your journey. When you get to your destination, we will celebrate your success.

Set-up a free consultation by clicking here

Carrie Mead, MS is a Professional Life Coach and Reiki practitioner based in Maryland. Carrie created Curiosity Life Coaching to help men and women successfully navigate major life transitions such as retirement, divorce, career changes, and loss. Carrie provides guidance, support, and empowering exercises to help her clients redefine and enact on their life’s mission following a major life transition. Connecting authentically and compassionately forms the basis of all of Carrie’s personal and professional relationships. Carrie holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from McDaniel College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Gettysburg College. Learn more by visiting

The benefits of hiring a professional life coach

We all go through periods of time when we could benefit from some wise, objective, and thoughtful support to reach our goals.  Friends and family can be great for offering advice, but life coaching isn’t about advice-giving.  Life coaching is about empowering you to identify your desires, set your intentions and then, of course, achieve your goals.  

Whether you are an entrepreneur, a working mother, a college student, a highly respected expert in your professional arena or just starting your adult life, life coaching can be beneficial to your personal and professional development.  Although many niches exist within the realm of life coaching, all coaches have one common goal and that is to help you, the client, set and achieve your goals.  This is why I feel so strongly that everyone can benefit from professional life coaching.   

Maybe as you read this, it occurs to you that you don’t have a clear goal or sense of direction for your life.  What a great realization!  Life coaching can assist you in getting clear on your values, your purpose and your passions. Through this process, undoubtably, goals will arise and hopefully excitement will arise about the possibilities for your future.

If your interest is piqued, here are some brief exercises of self-discovery to help you hone into the aspects of your life that are flowing in the right direction and where you need to direct extra attention. Make time for yourself to sit quietly and thoughtfully with the questions below. Have some materials nearby for taking notes; I prefer pen and paper, but you may prefer taking notes on a computer or dictating thoughts into your phone. No matter the method, it’s important to take notes! 

Do not rush the process, self- discovery and intentional inquiry take time. These exercises are designed to get you off auto-pilot and back into your present life. If you enter this exercise with an open and curious mind, you will have a lot of fun and discover something unknown about yourself.  

  1. When is the last time you experienced overwhelming joy? What were you doing? Who were you with? What surprised you by your joyous reaction? Describe this time in detail in your notes and replay it in your mind as if it were happening now.  Engage your five senses. What do you see, hear, smell, feel and taste as you recall this memory?  What stands out about this memory or experience?
  • How and when do you know when you are in the flow of life?  What are the signals you receive internally (i.e. sensations in your body, physical health, dreams or thoughts in your mind) and externally (i.e. how do you engage with others and how do they respond to you)? How can you create more of this in your life? Is there a specific action, thought or way of being that might help you create this experience again, no matter what’s going on around you?
  • Reflect on just one major area of your life such as your profession, your finances, your romantic relationship or your spiritual practice.  Is this area of your life as fulfilling and abundant as you want it to be? Are you dedicating time and energy to this area?  If so, how?  Be specific. Does this area of your life bring you joy, pride and a sense of fulfillment? Or does this area leave you with a sense of dread, regret or fear?  Are you possibly ignoring this area of your life simply because you don’t how to move forward or are you over-focused on this successful area of life while ignoring less appealing aspects of your life? Be honest with yourself. Describe your thoughts, feelings and intentions around this subject.  At a later time, you can repeat this exercise with another focus.

As you have worked through these teachings, reflect on what you have learned.  Have common themes or patterns arisen? If so, are these patterns facilitating your growth or impeding you?  Reflection is a process, so pay attention to what arises for your in the coming days and weeks as you continue to think through these self-discovery lessons.  

The experience of receiving life coaching is a way to discover unknown aspects (aka, Shadow work) of ourselves, and, perhaps most importantly, make changes in our lives so that we are truly living the life we desire.  Without action steps, the self-discovery is somewhat inefficient. What good is it to understand all aspects of ourselves- known and unknown; light and dark; positive and negative- but then do nothing to make adjustments accordingly? Taking action and bridging the gap between where you are today and where you want to be is a key component of life coaching. With this in mind, a professionally trained life coach will assist you in creating and executing a strategy for your life.

Again, the benefits of creating the plan or new years resolution without follow-through are quite limited.  I believe all of us have had ‘great plans’ that never materialized. This is a common human experience. With a life coach by your side, you are sure to take to those action steps. Think of your life coach as your accountability partner.  This means that as you create your plans and make commitments to the steps of your plan, your coach will hold you responsible for taking the steps. That doesn’t mean you must complete each step exactly as planned, but it does mean that you will explore, adjust and refocus if you find you are unable or unwilling to stay on task.  This is a fundamental part of the process of coaching. And, all the while, you are supported by your coach.

Are you intrigued? Do you want to know more? Are you ready to get started? Set-up a free consultation by clicking here.

I would be happy to answer any questions you have or to offer you a free phone consultation to assess if I would be the right professional life coach for you.   As with all healing professions, not every coach is right for every client nor is every client right for every coach.   This free consultation will help us find out if we’re a good fit for one another. I look forward to hearing from you when the time is right.

You can reach me,  Carrie C. Mead, by email at: or follow me on Facebook @curiositylifecoaching, Instagram @curiositylifecoachandreiki or the web at:

Carrie Mead, MS
Curiosity Life Coaching
Baltimore, MD

Do I need a life coach or a therapist?

Carrie Mead, MS
Transitions Life Coach
Curiosity Life Coaching

As a psychotherapist and life coach, people always ask me the difference between my two roles. People are always curious about what I do. They are also want to know how to discern what they need. Basically, is  their problem coachable or therapeutic in nature?

So, with this blog, I want to address frequently asked questions about the differences between psychotherapy and life coaching. It’s not uncommon for people to confuse these two professions and to be sure, similarities do exist. However, these professions are not interchangeable. These waters can become even murkier as many counselors, like me, are practicing as both licensed counselors and life coaches. However, when you a hire a coach with a Masters in Counseling, like me, you can rest assured that the foundation of our work together is rooted in my innate understanding of the human psyche.

It’s important to note that as a potential client, you are not expected to know exactly what you need. As a trained professional, I am here to guide you to the right service based on your needs, capabilities, and desires. That is where my expertise comes in. In any event, it’s still important to be an informed consumer so I have laid out this simple bullet points to help guide you through the decision making process.

differences between counseling and coaching

  • Coaching sessions are focused on the agenda set by client
  • Coaching is action oriented and results driven
  • Coaching takes place in the here and now, not in the past
  • Coaching assumes that you are resilient, strong, capable and healthy
  • Coaching focuses on aligning your strengths with your stated goals
  • Coaching assumes that you are the expert of your own life purpose
  • Coaching is a collaborative process
  • Coaching is credentialed in many different ways by many governing bodies but in reality, no certification or credential is required to call oneself a coach
  • Coaching can take place by phone, video or in person across the USA or worldwide


  • Therapy is process oriented
  • Therapy focuses on emotions, behaviors and thoughts and the root of these feelings
  • Therapy helps the client relate current situations to past traumas or learned experiences
  • Therapy assesses for and diagnoses mental health disorders
  • Therapy provides treatement for mental health disorders
  • Therapists are trained at the Masters Level and are required to be licensed by their state in almost every state in the USA. Each state has their own regulation and reqirements, all are rigourous to ensure client safety
  • Therapy is often considered “medically necessary” and is covered by health insurance
  • Therapy is a medical model which is governed by the laws of HIPAA
  • Therapy can only take place in person or by secure video; most therapy laws prohibit the use of many technologies
  • The therapist is often considered the expert within the relationship
  • The practice of therapy or counseling is regulated by the state board in each state across the USA. A therapist may only practice or do counseling with a client who is located in the state in which the therapist is licensed.

similarities between counseling and coaching:

  • Both professions require specialized trainings, certifications, course work, internships and in-vivo field practice
  • Both professions have the same inherent goal of assisting clients create fulfilling lives
  • Both coaches and therapists are highly trained, empathetic, and intelligent
  • Both professions recognize and honor that each person is different and that there is no ‘one size fits all’ recipe for healing and success
  • Both professions adhere to ethical guidelines which foster safety within the relationship

It’s the job of the coach to help you, the client, understand these differences so that you choose the appropriate service for your needs. As the consumer, you are entitled to understand what coaching is, and is not, so that you can knowledgeably enter the coaching contract. In traditional psychotherapy, we would make this part of the informed consent process. A thorough initial phone call or video call should include: establishing rapport, assessing your readiness for coaching and explaining the limitations of coaching.

It’s my belief that both coaching and therapy are vital and helpful services for many people. There is no ‘better’ or ‘less than’ helping profession. It’s actually this diversity which allows us to have access to the services we need most at a particular time in life.

If you would like to explore the possibility of life coaching or counselling with me, please set up an appointment here. I provide mental health therapy in the state of Maryland only and you can find out more about my counseling philosophy here.

Carrie Mead, MS is a Professional Life Coach, Psychotherapist, and Reiki practitioner based in Maryland. Carrie created Curiosity Life Coaching to help men and women successfully navigate major life transitions such as retirement, divorce, career changes, and loss. Carrie provides guidance, support and empowering exercises to help her clients redefine and enact on their life’s mission following a major life transition. Connecting authentically and compassionately forms the basis of all of Carrie’s personal and professional relationships. Carrie holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from McDaniel College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Gettysburg College. Learn more by visiting

“Just as the boat is guided to shore by careful planning, following the map and visualizing the light house, we too must have these tools to reach our goals. Without preparation, planning and a vision of the future we are just afloat in the sea at the mercy of the winds”

Carrie Mead, MS, LCPC
Curiosity Life Coaching