Your daughter came home from college and didn’t seem like herself. You’re worried about her. Is she depressed? Suffering from anxiety? Struggling to overcome a loss or trauma? You try to support her. She’s resistant. She says you don’t understand. She yells or ignores. You wonder, If she’s not talking with me, who is she talking to? You worry, What will she do when she goes back to school? How will she cope? You’re not sure what to do. Clearly, something is going on, but what is the best way to support her, especially now that she’s an adult? If she’s refusing to talk to you, who would she feel comfortable talking with and who could help her through her struggles? Does she need coaching or therapy?
Coaching and therapy may look similar on the surface, but which one is appropriate for your daughter?
Therapy is an approach that can help girls understand how they got to where they are. The process will include a close look at past experiences, patterns of behavior, and habits of thinking. A skilled therapist will help clients break the bad habits or behavior patterns that have led to undesirable outcomes. Therapy clients will have a safe space to process thoughts and feelings and learn how to overcome trauma and heal wounds of the past. Therapy is a valuable process and intended to promote healing so a person can move forward with peace and confidence. It is essential for those wanting to manage diagnoses like depression, anxiety, or PTSD.
Coaching will deepen girls’ understanding of themselves. But unlike therapy’s healing-the-past approach, coaching is future-focused. It helps those who want to develop their potential, gain a sense of direction, and/or improve certain skills or performance. By building self-awareness, gaining clarity about the future, and providing tools for overcoming obstacles, coaching takes clients from where they are to where they want to be. A skilled coach provides an outlet for clients to process life experiences and download thoughts while also using specific techniques to move them forward. Coaching is action-based and intended to promote growth and self-evaluation.
When determining what is best for your daughter, start with a conversation with both a coach and therapist.
You or your daughter can describe the current situation and get a feel for the coach and therapist’s approach. Ask direct questions like:
Can you describe your approach?
Do you have experience working with young adults who have experienced ____?
Do you provide homework/action steps? How do you hold your clients accountable for following through?
What kind of change can I/my daughter expect to see?
How do you support or involve parents?
Both coaching and therapy are helpful and can work together successfully. While a therapist can focus on healing and providing support to overcome serious psychological concerns, a coach can provide insight, tools, and actions that propel clients forward, into the future of their choosing.