Integrating Coaching Techniques into Therapy Provides Enhanced Flexibility and Effectiveness


Last week I commented on a New York Times article that bemoans the trend for therapists to brand themselves in order to increase business. The article specifically took issue with specialization, stating that specialization forces therapists into niches just for the purpose of marketing and it also took issue with coaching as an inferior service intended to give the client a “quick fix”, rather than lasting change.

As stated in my last entry, I strongly disagree with the author on both of these points. Since writing that post I have come across this article (see link below) on integrating coaching techniques into psychotherapy. It provides an alternative perspective to the one in last week’s article. This author recognizes that clients don’t always have the time to process the meaning of everything that is going on in their lives in order to gain insight and create transformative personal change.  Oftentimes the issues that clients present with are urgent, requiring immediate action that they may not know how to enact.  By being skilled in using coaching techniques I therapist seeing a client with urgent concerns can move from their usual reflective mode to one in which they are highly directive in helping the client make a plan to resolve the urgent situation.

I like this article, because it’s not purely about the benefits of coaching but because it speaks to therapists like the one who wrote the article I commented on last week, and helps them to see that it’s not an either-or proposition.  An effective therapist can use coaching techniques when appropriate and then move into deeper territory with clients who want to make broader changes in their lives.

As for me, I make sure that the therapists I work with represent a broad array of therapeutic orientations.  None of the therapists I work with are expert at everything.  Some are specifically long-term psychodynamic therapists, some are primarily solution-focused and use coaching techniques in their work, and some represent other orientations or are adept at moving across a couple of orientation like the author of this article.

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