Coaching or Therapy? How to find the right support for your struggling adolescent or young adult.
Updated: May 18
As a health and wellness coach working with adolescents, college students and young adults, I am asked this question often. Though coaching and therapy may share some similarities, there are also differences that you should be aware of when making this important investment in your child's wellbeing. For struggling adolescents and young adults, whose brains are still growing and who are experiencing new challenges daily, it is critical to consider their unique needs and seek out appropriate support when they are experiencing difficulties.
What is a therapist?
Therapists are professionals trained to treat mental illness, support emotional healing and help individuals and families gain insight into significant past experiences and life difficulties. You may seek out a therapist when you, or a loved one are experiencing distress in life related to anxiety, depression, trauma, disordered eating, regulating emotions, relationship difficulties and more. Support from a licensed therapist should be considered when the everyday mental and emotional challenges of life begin to cause behavior patterns and thought processes that interfere with daily functioning.
What is a health and wellness coach?
Health and wellness coaches are trained in behavior change theory and motivational strategies to help clients identify their internal strengths and create routines and strategies for sustainable change. Coaching can encourage personal growth, increase self-efficacy and improve lifestyle habits .
Those working with adolescent, college students, and young adult clients help to create new behavior patterns and skills to support academic progress, healthy lifestyle habits, decision making, and improved self awareness and self efficacy as they transition into their adult years. Coaching is generally recommended for those who feel stuck and need an extra push to move forward with confidence, but who are not experiencing emotional distress that significantly impacts their daily functioning. For those who have recently completed therapy, coaching can serve as an excellent next level of support.
Finding a certified coach
Coaching is a rapidly growing and unregulated industry, so it is important to do your research and find a coach who has completed a thorough training program and has the skills to walk alongside you on your journey. For health and wellness coaches, the National Board Certified Health and Wellness (NBC-HWC) credential ensures coaches have completed many hours of education, training and supervised coaching. In addition they have passed a rigorous certifying exam created in partnership with the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). You can find board certified health and wellness coaches and additional information at https://nbhwc.org/.
Hi, I'm Yvette, an educator and National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. The transition from adolescence to young adulthood is an exciting and sometimes complicated and challenging time of life. Utilizing techniques grounded in behavior change theory, motivation and human learning, I help my clients realize their unique potential, see life's challenges as opportunities to learn and grow and gain effective habits and tools to support their lifelong success and wellbeing.
Yvette Morton Ed.S, MA, NBC-HWC
Interested in learning more about how I can help?