An option that may be particularly appealing for some couples is relationship coaching. This can be especially helpful for those who are out of state. Counselors are licensed to practice in the state(s) in which they are licensed. Due to some variations in state laws, counseling is not permitted unless the couple is in Ohio (where I am licensed). There are laws that will go into effect in 2023 that should allow for more flexibility.
Some people joke that if you can’t do something as a counselor, just call it coaching. While there is some truth to this, I have had training from the International Coach Federation and am a licensed counselor. It is generally not seen as appropriate to see clients as both a counselor and a coach. Once someone starts with counseling, they need to stick with counseling. Once they start with coaching, they need to stick with coaching.
So a very good question is “what’s the difference?”. With the way I practice, not much. Coaching is not covered by insurance, but I also don’t take insurance for counseling for a variety of reasons (unless out of network). Coaching does not allow for diagnoses, but I very rarely find it helpful to diagnose clients. Coaching does not allow for the treatment of mental health disorders. Coaching may provide tools if necessary if you are sad or stressed, but counseling is required to treat conditions like depression and anxiety disorders. Both involve a combination of active listening and open-ended questions to get you thinking.
For those who are in Ohio, I recommend counseling because it allows for use of some additional techniques. For those who are out of state, coaching can provide similar benefits, and perhaps outside individual counseling (elsewhere) can fill in some of the gaps if necessary.
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