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The National Council of Psychotherapists

Est. 1971



These days, many Psychotherapists, Hypnotherapists and Counsellors are finding themselves dealing with clients who do not wish to delve into past problems, preferring, instead, to take the coaching route to improving their lives.


The following article is one viewpoint regarding Coaching and traditional therapies which may be of interest to our readers.


The traditional therapies, psychology and counselling and their relationship to coaching Contrary to popular belief, therapy is not ‘backwards focused’ and does not conform to the stereotype of spending 20 years attending weekly sessions to discuss childhood experiences. See A Guide to Clinical Psychology and its Practice for a more realistic & modern view of what clinical psychology and the therapies have to offer.


Therapy is, if anything, an extension of what happens in a coaching relationship, it is forward focused and aimed at life improvement or enhancement. It is about moving on and breaking free from problems and issues that have held people back and prevented them from getting all they can from their lives. Another popular misconception is that in order to undergo therapy one must be ‘crazy’ or ‘neurotic’ which is not the case.


Therapy is also time-limited and based on an assessment of needs. It is quite rare now to encounter therapies that involve open-ended interventions that last for many years. Therapists are highly trained, with 4 years of full-time undergraduate training followed by 1-2 years full-time post-graduate study and from 3-5 supervised full-time practice before being considered ‘qualified’. Counsellors & clinical psychologists must also engage in professional ‘supervision’ for the whole of their career to ensure that a high standards are maintained. Therapists are also ethically and professionally bound to work with clients only if measurable value can be demonstrated, this means that if people do not actually NEED therapy, it is not ethical for therapists to make money through providing it.


Because of this relationship between coaching and psychology & the therapies, some professionals offering coaching services are, in fact, therapists or psychologists who are marketing their services under the names coaching and mentoring. This means it is possible to offer the appropriate level of service depending on immediate needs and client preferences. This also has the benefit of transcending some of the negative conceptions of what these services involve.


Therapists & psychologists will, however, always assess clients before taking them on and some will refuse to work at the ‘shallow-end’ of the spectrum with people whose issues are not really serious. These people are often referred to as the ‘worried well’ and personal or life-coaching in particular is an excellent intervention for this group.


Anyone seeking life improvement, and who is willing to work at the deeper issues, should consider contracting a coach or mentor who does have a traditional therapeutic background in the first instance. If the client is not sure if they have issues that would benefit from a therapeutic intervention are encouraged to secure professional an assessment by an appropriately qualified person.


Reasons to consult a clinical psychologist


The Coaching & Mentoring Network maintain relationships with a range of therapists offering specialist coaching assessments. For more information or for assistance with booking an assessment contact 0870 733 3313 or email


When selecting a coach or mentor with therapeutic or counselling skills it is important to ensure they are accredited by the appropriate professional licensing bodies i.e. British Psychological Society, British Confederation of Psychotherapists, National Council of Psychotherapists or British Association for Counselling.


N.B The names ‘psychologist, therapist, counsellor are not in the UK restricted by law to those who are qualified, so beware of what the BPS calls 'self styled’ psychologists counsellors and therapists who may not have formal training or hold any degree of professional accountability.

This article appears on the website of The Coaching and Mentoring Network and is reproduced here with their kind permission.

The Coaching & Mentoring Network

PO Box 5551

RG20 7WB

+44 870 733 3313

+44 870 733 3314


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