Do I need a life coach or a therapist?

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 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 these 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 the 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

VS

  • 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 treatment 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 its own regulation and requirements, all are rigorous 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 training, 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 that 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 counseling 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 http://www.curiositylifecoaching.com

“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
Curiosity Life Coaching

Curiosity Life Coaching

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…

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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 www.thetappingsolution.com 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, www.curiositylifecoaching.com  or email me at curiositylifecoaching@gmail.com . 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 www.curiositylifecoaching.com


[1] https://www.thetappingsolution.com/2020tws/pre-event.php

[2] http://tapping-foundation.s3.amazonaws.com/Research/randomised-controlled-study-comparing-two-psychological-therapies-for-posttraumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd-emotional-freedom-techniq-OEbq.pdf

[3] https://www.thetappingsolution.com/tapping-101/

What is Self-Care and Why is it Important?

Carrie Mead, MS
Professional Life Coach

Self-care is a buzzword that we have all heard but I wonder how many people really know what it means to care for one’s self.  I would wager to say that people talk much more about this topic than actually practice a regular and consistent self-care routine.  Statistics often speak louder than words and on Instagram alone, the hashtag #selfcare has been used more than 21 million times and the combined uses of all the self-care hashtags reach well over 30 million posts! So, it is evident that people are talking a lot about self-care but there’s no evidence that people are putting their words into action. 

To be clear, self-care is a concept, not an action. The concept of self-care is broad and highly individualized. The practice of self-care is unique to each of us. How much alone-time, girl-time, exercise, yoga, meditation, or hiking you need to feel rejuvenated and restored totally depends on you. Your version of self-care today may look completely different than it did a year ago or even one week ago.  And that is okay. You are growing and developing as a person and therefore your needs are changing too.  We all go through different seasons of life and in transition our needs change. The point is, you need to figure out what fills you up, lightens your load, and creates joy and ease in your life.  Only you know.

Today’s self-care could be 15 mins of silent meditation, running a marathon, serving hot meals to the homeless, or playing with your puppy. A year ago, self-care could have looked like a day at the spa, ice-fishing with your buddies, or reading a chapter from your new favorite self-help book. If you are a new parent or a working parent, self-care could just as easily be a long, hot, shower infused with essential oils, a trip to the grocery store alone, or an uninterrupted cup of hot coffee in the morning.  

As you can see, there is no right or wrong way to care for yourself. Ultimately, only you know what you need and only you can make self-care a priority. Your mother may buy you a gift certificate for a massage or your best friend may offer to babysit so that you and your spouse can enjoy a date night but you, and only, can make this happen.  

You have probably been putting your needs on the back-burner for a while. Be honest, how long has this been going on? What’s preventing you from taking better care of yourself? Is it guilt? Is it depression? It is feelings of unworthiness? It is anxiety or negative chatter in your head? Is it an unhealthy perspective on the importance of productivity and achievement?  The truth is that if you are not taking good care of yourself, you absolutely cannot take good care of anyone else. If you have people (or pets!) who depend on you, you owe it to them to take better care of yourself. When are you are feeling refreshed, reenergized, and joyful you are in a much better state to give lovingly to others. 

Take a minute to write down a few ideas for your self-care routine. What would you love to do if you found yourself with 15 minutes extra tomorrow morning? What would you love to do if an entire day opened up or imagine a whole weekend without any plans? Write down some ideas so that next time you find yourself with an unexpected opening in your schedule, you will know exactly what to do!

If you need help discovering who you are and what you need, contact me. Having an objective and wise guide on your path of self-discovery is a great idea. If you have been living on auto-pilot, you may have no idea who you are or what will revive your spirit. If you are transitioning into a new phase of life such as retirement or becoming an empty-nester, you may suddenly find yourself with an abundance of time. It’s too easy to fall into apathy and depression when you are unsure of your purpose in the world. I would love to help you rediscover yourself, your passions, and your God-given purpose. Contact me at: curiositylifecoaching@gmail.com to learn more. You and your loved ones deserve this, so don’t delay!

One final note. And it’s a serious one. If you are feeling like a lazy Sunday with your favorite book or a trip to Starbucks won’t satisify you self-care needs, you are may be suffering from depression, anxiety or some other significant mental illness. Don’t go at it alone. If you need help beyond the simple enery boosts I have provided here, please reach out to a professional mental health counselor. You can conect to someone in your area by using Psychology Today. You can also also access the Suicide Prevention Hotline or Crisis Text Line 24/7 from the USA. Let’s stop the stigma.

Carrie Mead 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 www.curiositylifecoaching.com

Strategic Decision Making Skills

Have you ever had a difficult time making a decision? Perhaps you have rushed into a decision and then regretted it either instantly or months later. Maybe you are so indecisive that decisions simply never get made and you are left feeling stuck in your situation. Maybe you have made decisions that were in direct conflict with your long-term goals or vision for your life. With the countless decisions you have made in your life, have you ever stopped and wondered how these past decisions have impacted the trajectory of your life?

In our busy lives, decisions are made at rapid speed and they are often made without adequate thought and consideration of the consequences. How many times have you made an important decision while multi-tasking or, worse yet, when you were tired, hungry or emotional? I will be writing on more on this topic soon. Suffice to say, I am quite certain that if you have made decisions under these conditions then the results were less than stellar.

On the other hand, your decision-making skills may lean away from impulsive towards indecisive. Wavering minds have a tendency towards uncertainty, anxiety and self-doubt. If you are inclined towards indecisiveness, you probably spend countless hours lost in a barrage of ‘what ‘if’’ thinking that ultimately leaves you feeling anxious, depressed, tired, stuck and hopeless.  

No matter which is your dominant decision-making style, chances are, you have made some good decisions in your life and you have made some poor ones as well.  Have you ever stopped to consider the circumstances that lead to those good decisions or bad decisions? By exploring your past, you have rich and valuable information for your future. 

Below is an exercise that you can use for the purpose of self-discovery. As always, when setting off on a journey, you want to be prepared. This is as true for today’s journey as it would be for setting off on a road trip across the country. Preparation for today’s journey of self-discovery should include setting aside ample time for completing the exercise, being well rested and comfortable in your setting and being prepared to take notes. To get the most of out of this experience, you will also need to set aside time in a few days for reflection on the experience. 

Step 1: Start with free writing. Just jot down all those thoughts swirling around your mind, whatever they are. Those ‘things’ that if left unattended will distract you from being present in this moment. Once that list is complete, put it aside knowing that it will be there for you when you are done. Give thanks for the time are you taking for yourself and quiet your mind.

Step 2: Create two lists. One list will consist of the ‘good’ decisions you have made in recent memory. A good decision may have led a good night’s sleep, an awesome date with your spouse, paying off a debt early or saying no to someone or something unsavory. The other list will consist of all those ‘bad’ decisions you have made. Those decisions which moved you out of alignment with your goals. This list may include decisions which catapulted you further into debt or added 10lbs to your waist line or ended a healthy romantic relationship.

Step 3: Review these lists. What immediately comes to mind as you read and re-read them? Jot these intuitive thoughts down. If they do not make sense now, they might later. Remember, as part of your preparation, you are setting aside time to reflect on this experience later this week. Never dismiss your intuition.  Do you see patterns of behaviors that repeat themselves overtly or covertly as you reflect and review? Whatever your reaction, it’s important to honor and acknowledge it.  

Step 4: Now you are ready to delve into just one experience from each list. Start with whichever list you prefer and remember to take notes! Begin by recalling what was going on at the time you made this particular decision. Were you focused and thoughtful or were you rushed, harried or impulsive? Were you well-rested and clear minded or were you tired and pushed for time? Did you consult with someone you trusted before making this decision or did you trust only yourself? Did you listen to your intuition or did you ignore it? Were there red flags you chose to ignore? Did you consider how this decision aligned with your long and short-term goals? Were you multi-tasking or day dreaming at the time you made your choice or were you fully present in the moment? Carefully consider these questions as they will provide you with personal insight and a chance for transformation and growth.

Step 5: Now that you’ve recalled this experience, reflect on the end result and consequences of your decision. Were you surprised by the results? Did things happen as you planned? Did you get the result you were hoping for or did you miss the target? What advice could you offer your younger-self about this topic knowing all that you do now? What did you do well in this decision-making process? Has the impact of this decision been less or more than you anticipated?  Sometimes the most surprising thing that we learn is that you spend entirely too much time worrying about the wrong thing! Complete this exercise again choosing one event from your other list.

Step 6: Lastly, think about a decision you need to make now or in the near future. How can you apply the information you gleaned from this experience to your current situation? Do you have a new perspective on this situation? Do you have new insight about your decision-making patterns? Do you have a new skill or tool to use that you didn’t before? Is your intuition crying out to be heard or is fear’s voice the loudest? Is there a friend or mentor you can reach out to for advice?  Has anything shifted?

Wherever you are at this moment with your pending decision, take time to care for yourself by delaying your choice until you have slept well. Yes, you heard me, sleep first, decide later. Neuroscience and sleep research make it clear that decisions are best made after a good night’s sleep.  The simple reason is that during sleep the brain eliminates distractions from the day by filtering out the ‘useless’ information and stimuli you received during the day to make room for the important information to emerge. Just think of all the colors, sounds, and images you experience as you scroll through social media for a few minutes. Our brains are constantly processing this information and storing it until we sleep when these stimuli can be filtered, filed or let go. This clearing process, which happens during deep non-REM sleep, allows the important information of the day to come forth. Following a good sleep, you will often have a fresh perspective that biologically could not have existed the previous day. (For more on the importance of quality sleep I highly recommend the movie “Sleepless in America” by National Geographic and the National Institute of Health. The entire movie is available for free on Youtube or DVD from your local library).

One reason why people like you seek the support of a life coach is to learn effective decision-making skills. Poor decision-making skills adds immeasurable stress to your life and ultimately robs you of the peace you deserve. If any of the above scenarios resonate with you, life coaching can help. As your coach, I will come along aside you to offer space, time, fresh perspectives, empowerment trainings, brainstorming exercises and guidance as you determine if your current patterns of thoughts and behaviors are aligning you with your goals or moving you away from your desired outcomes. 

Decision-making skills can be learned and re-learned. They are teachable, adaptable and extremely important in your adult life. As a life coach and mental health therapist, I have borne witness to the impact a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ decision has on the trajectory of one’s life countless times. 

It is my greatest desire to assist you in making conscious, intentional and healthy choices for your life.  Want to know more about the benefits of life coaching, click below. I will be happy to offer you a complimentary first session so that you can experience the power of life coaching first-hand. You can reach me, Carrie C. Mead, by email at: curiositylifecoaching@gmail.com or at LinkedIn.

Carrie C. Mead, MS

Professional Life Coach

Certified Seasons of Change Coach

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

VS

  • 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 www.curiositylifecoaching.com

“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