Talk Therapy vs Coaching


Quit peeling your onion and finally get your life
moving forward and on track!

By Robert Rudelic BS, NMT, MES

Mystery pain solved as well as lifelong mental blocks –

A new client came to me suffering from lower back pain and cervical pain that came up all of a sudden. Her friend told her about me and said “you need to see this guy”.

She was very fit, athletic and in her 40’s. After filling out her intake form we sat down and discussed her situation. She told me this pain started four months ago and she couldn’t figure out why. There was no injury or specific incident that triggered it.

I noticed on the intake that she was seeing a psychologist and I began asking her about what they were working on. Often when unexplained pain appears, stress, either emotional or situational is a key element in it. I mentioned this fact but she dismissed it immediately telling me she had been seeing a psychologist for over 20 years and talked through all of it. I did not press it any further and went back to exploring possible physical reasons for the sudden pain attack.

As we began to work I noticed the high level of tension in her whole body and how guarded she was. I had to do some work to quiet her nervous system and get her to relax. She became noticeably more relaxed when I started using the AAA Breathing Exercise that I developed and she started opening up about other aspects of her life. I then went back to testing her to see if I could pinpoint the cause of her pain. My gut was telling me there was a lot more to this than physical pain. I asked her if there had been any new developments or big changes in her life in the last 6 months. WOOOO! She immediately tensed up and started to cry uncontrollably. I began tapping her hand and instructed her to let it out. I kept this up for a several minutes, then, all of a sudden she stopped crying, sat up, looked at me and began telling me about a new relationship she was in and how her past was getting in the way. She said how they are tied together and somehow attached to her pain. It really caught her off guard – just imagine, she thought she had overcome this in therapy… but, she hadn’t.

I had her mirror me as I tapped on a different point and I lead her through several rounds of tapping. We worked for 90 minutes and in that time she laid out everything, and as she did we cleared all the traumas from her body. Every so often she would stop crying and say “WOW it’s gone, I don’t feel it anymore!” She was amazed that when I brought up incidents she had told me about earlier, she felt no anger or fear.

Without revealing her issues, she was stuck and had been so for months. She was falling in love with this man yet unable to be intimate with him. She told me she had been working with her therapist about all of this but never once felt this good afterwards. After the session was over she told me she had never told her therapist half of the stuff she revealed to me in just 90 minutes and it felt so natural. She was able to proceed with her relationship and was overjoyed. Oh, and her pain was almost completely gone within two days. I taught her an exercise that would help her maximize her time with her therapist who she really liked.

So the question is why did she get so much from just one session of coaching versus years of talking it out with her therapist?

Why people need one or the other –

We all need help from time to time especially when we are in a stressful state, situational chaos or emotionally and mentally overwhelmed. Getting unstuck and figuring out what to do and how to do it can seem impossible. That’s why coaching works so well in these situations. Its results orientated and has a high impact in a very short amount of time where talk-therapy is not designed to do that.

Priorities – fast results vs long term analyses

Coaching provides speed, thoroughness and the tools necessary to advance on your own. Understanding all the reasons why you’re in the predicament does not give you the tools needed to change your situation or your behavior and the time it takes to “figure it out” could jeopardize your ability to succeed or get what you need in a situation. It’s the difference between knowledge and knowing. Coaching leads to knowing based on results. Talk-therapy is knowledge based on a deeper understanding of why.

Which one is better for what type of problems?

What type of therapist you choose to see can make all the difference in the outcome of your situation. Coaching and psychotherapy (talk-therapy) are very different and focused on different outcomes.

What each one is and the strengths and weaknesses of each

Our tool sets and strategies are very different. From my point of view, coaching is intended to have a high impact in the shortest amount of time. It gives you the tools so you can roll up your sleeves and take immediate action. It’s meant to define the issue, determine the outcome you want then take action and get the results you want ASAP. Many of my clients see me for situational coaching so they don’t labor on figuring out all the whys before solving the situation or getting the needed change.

I believe psychotherapy (talk-therapy) is designed to bring awareness of the issues then delve into figuring out why your situation is the way it is. The therapist can help you to dig deep and see why you feel or behave a certain way in a situation. It’s mainly a mental exercise of exploration and that is what some are looking for, but for others it leaves them frustrated because the situation needs to change quickly, and they may not have the money to see someone on an ongoing basis. I liken it to “coaching gives you the “how-to’s to get your situation handled and psychotherapy gives you the understanding of why you’re in the situation in the first place.”

Both have a place in people’s lives, so how do you determine which one is right for you in your present situation?

Personality types and your choice

Money is almost always a factor. Psychotherapy can be covered for a limited number of sessions by some insurance companies but you have to deal with the company and often those sessions are used up before any resolution takes place. Coaching is not covered by most insurance companies.

Time is a factor for many people especially if the situation has an endpoint like the fear of an upcoming event, a divorce or self-destructive urges. Most people in these situations can’t afford to talk it out over a period of months or years because their situation is moving along and they need to be fully engaged to change it. Coaching is highly effective in these types of situations because it moves you quickly to solutions that make a difference in your outcome.

Personality also makes a difference. I’ve had clients who needed change immediately yet were more interested in knowing all the whys than actually taking action and getting things done. Unfortunately most of them get run over in the end yet felt ok because they were not ready to take action anyway (victim mentality). Others want to get on top of things as fast as possible and feel a sense of control over their lives. Waiting causes anxiety and mistakes in judgement. For them the whys come after they have gotten the results they wanted, when looking back the whys are self-evident.

Whichever approach you choose, make sure you’re going to get what you need in a timely manner and you learn how to handle yourself mentally and emotionally in the future without relying on others for help. In my coaching practice I teach my clients the tools to become their own best therapist and only when they’re really stuck would they need to seek out assistance. They are self-assured, confident and more emotionally composed than when they first came to me.

My prescription/recommendation and how to use it all together for amazing results

My approach to coaching is a combination of coach, motivator, accountability partner, investigative provocateur and good friend (as defined by the Eastern teaching of good friends/ bad friends.) My approach and personality is to address everything head on, disregard the opinions of others and have total self-responsibility for your thoughts, words and actions. Measure what you do by basing it on whether it creates value for yourself and others – or not.

It comes down to the type of tools that are used in coaching. My tool set includes tools that eliminate the emotional intensity of past experiences which create beliefs that produce sabotaging behaviors. Psychologists frequently focus on past experiences yet their tools are often inadequate at eliminating them permanently. My tool set has a high impact in a very short amount of time where psychological tools are not designed to do this. As stated in their definition of their profession, “they explore past experiences to define present behaviors then address them over a period of time” – not high impact in a short amount of time! So, it’s a choice to determine which approach is appropriate.

Coaching and Talk-Therapy are distinct in many ways and it’s important to draw a clear line between them.

Talk-Therapy generally speaking, is for people dealing with a psychological issue that undermines their ability to function in healthy and adaptive ways. The focus is retrospective and includes repairing damage from previous experiences.

Identifying and treating disorders and pathologies and alleviating symptoms through behavioral, cognitive or analytic interventions is the scope of Talk-Therapy.

Coaching, on the other hand, has a present/future orientation, focuses on goals and desired outcomes, draws on the client’s potential, strengths, and skills to maximize fulfillment in life and work. It can be broad based or singularly focused.

Even though both approaches rely on developing awareness, Talk-Therapy relies on awareness of past experiences to bring about improvement in the present, and Coaching sheds light into unseen possibilities and strengths therefore linking that awareness to action and results.

For more information about my coaching visit my coaching page and let’s see if we are a fit.

For more information, visit our PowerTapping page.

Robert Rudelic, B.S., N.M.T., M.E.S.
San Francisco, CA 94107
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