What Is The Difference Between A Relationship Coach And A Therapist?

When a person has a relationship challenge, whether it’s conflict in an existing relationship or a desire to find a life partner, it can be very helpful to talk over the problem with an objective, insightful professional. Relationship help can come from two different sources: a licensed therapist or a relationship coach. While there is a good bit of overlap in the services they provide, there are a few important differences.

Licensing And Education

A licensed therapist must have a master’s degree, usually in psychology or social work, along with a license to practice in a particular state. Coaching, on the other hand, is currently unregulated, and training is optional. However, the most reputable coaches are those who have taken advantage of accredited training programs and abide by established ethical guidelines.


In general, therapists focus on healing clients who have suffered emotional wounds or traumas that are affecting their relationships or ability to form relationships. Therapists help clients to identify and treat the underlying causes of relationship problems. Coaches are more future-oriented. They work with healthy clients who have specific future goals. Coaches help clients define their goals and formulate a plan for achieving them. They also hold clients accountable for taking agreed-on actions.

Length Of Time

For most clients, therapy is a long process of exploring the past, practicing strategies to deal with behavioral or emotional issues, and gradually coming to terms with strong emotions, like grief, or ongoing mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Coaching, on the other hand, usually lasts for a much shorter period of time, typically from two to six months, and is focused on meeting a specific, measurable goal.

Relationship With Client

Both coaches and therapists work closely with their patients and get to know them well. However, therapists are more like doctors in that they diagnose and treat illness and dysfunction. Often, health insurance covers the cost of therapy but not coaching. Coaches tend to see their clients as peers, and the relationship between coach and client is more of a partnership.

Many people are turning to coaches nowadays to help them with dating. To learn more about one relationship coach who helps her clients attract their perfect mate, check out this LinkedIn.com profile.