The question that I get asked a lot is whether therapy is good for “self-improvement” or “personal development”.
Though I am biased, my response is that it is the best thing out there. There are many books and coaches that provide self-help and self-improvement as well, but I am largely not a big fan. The difference between coaching and therapy is that coaching helps someone work "around" and issue, and therapy helps someone work "through" an issue, and when looked at this way, each form of self-improvement chooses its clients accordingly.
People who seek therapy know that they will improve their lives by deeply exploring them. Those who choose coaching tend to just feel that making changes in their circumstances will help them, and that they do not need to do a deep exploration of their lives. The issue, of course, is that many people have great circumstances, but feel lousy. We need not look any further than Hollywood to know this. As such, therapy start with the premise that “you are not your circumstances” – ever. This kind of statement may seem hopeful, or it may seem scary - and it should because with it comes great responsibility.
Therapy is thus about examining your life so that you can take responsibility for it. In the coaching model, it is assumed that by taking action you are taking “responsibility” – however, without the deep exploration of therapy, you will never know if the responsibility you have is the responsibility that you want, and that's how therapy works with self-improvement and personal growth.
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