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Holistic Life Coaching and Therapy in Westchester, NY: What's The Difference?

Updated: Sep 24, 2023

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Recently, Peaceful Living Mental Health Counseling added the modality of Holistic Life Coaching to support clients to our group therapy practice. Although Therapy and Coaching have similarities and offer amazing opportunities for transformation and healing, they are quite different.

What is the Difference Between Holistic Life Coaching and Therapy?

In psychotherapy, clients work with their therapist to dive deep into past trauma and emotional behavior to understand what's going on in the present. Uncovering emotional issues help to develop coping skills and move towards recovery with a main focus on stability. A therapist will provide medical diagnosis and advice to continue to work through unresolved problems. A client may have anxiety, depression, an eating disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or various other mental illness.

Holistic Coaching focuses on the whole person with the four pillars - physical, emotional, mental and spiritual, working inside out. A coach will work with the client on a vision, success, the present, and moving into the future.

The purpose of coaching is frequently about performance improvement, learning, or development in an area of life the client wants to shift to achieve what they truly want.

Holistic Coaching tends to work with individuals that are looking to unlock their true potential whereas Therapy work tends to be for individuals that are seeking stability and healing.

A Closer Look

Let’s take a look at two people that are both at a crossroads in their lives and looking for guidance to lead them on the next step of their journey. While considering which direction will get them where they want to go, it's time to weigh the options between working with a therapist or a life coach.

The first individual lives in the suburbs and commutes to the city every day. They have a stable job at a mid-level position and work hard, sometimes working extra hours. They do not feel fulfilled in life. They know there is something more out there for them but don’t know how to start. They ask themselves frequently, “What am I doing in my life?” One of their hobbies is creating art. They have always had an idea of selling their art but just are not sure how to start. They feel stuck, stagnant and in their comfort zone.

In the above scenario, partnering with a holistic life coach would be the optimal choice. A life coach can co-create a plan, guide the client to start to uncover limited beliefs and do some outer comfort zone work! Internal reflection, creating space to shift the things getting in the way and build momentum to stick to a plan can lead the client to clarity and forward motion.

The second individual lives in the suburbs and commutes to the city every day. They have a stable job at a mid-level position and work hard, sometimes working extra hours. They feel worthless, constantly anxious and have intrusive thoughts leading to intense sadness. They constantly think about their past and cannot stay focused at work. They ask themselves frequently, “What is there to live for?” They constantly feel bad about themselves and do not know what to do next.

In the above scenario, partnering with a therapist would be the optimal choice. A therapist can identify the past event(s), experiences and root cause of why this person has present day symptoms. They can help guide them to a place where they can release the anxiety and practice coping skills for them to heal from their past wounds.

Benefits of Therapy and Holistic Coaching

Both Holistic Life Coaching and Psychotherapy have tremendous benefits to bring more meaning and motivation into your life.

The benefits of Therapy will include and are not limited to:

  • Increased relaxation

  • Improved confidence

  • Improved focus

  • Increased meditative state

  • Alleviated anxiety

  • Resolution of trauma

  • Increased concentration

  • Improved sleep

  • Resolution of pain, including tension and headaches

Therapy will bring you a new perspective and help your emotional state; regulate your nervous system and create more space for stability, growth and peace.

Benefits of Holistic Coaching will include and are not limited to:

  • tuning into your inner being

  • feeling inspired to take the next steps for your own personal growth

  • fall in love with yourself

  • create more mental space for growth

  • set goals and organize plans

  • better daily and lifelong habits

  • step into your truth

  • positive mindset growth

  • release limited beliefs

  • sense of calm

  • living in your JOY

The overall goal of holistic coaching is to create well-being and fulfillment in all areas of life that are important to YOU!

What Does a Session Look Like?

In both Therapy and Holistic Coaching, sessions are safe places for the client to explore their challenges and build trust between the client and therapist/coach. One can be totally honest in every session. Being vulnerable and allowing discovery about yourself is a key to progress with your therapist or coach.

In a therapy session, a therapist will listen to what's going on in your life and help navigate towards solutions and coping skills. A therapist will provide diagnosis and advice for the difficulties and past memories that come up. Your therapy session is your session, no matter what. A therapist sometimes gives homework or suggestions about what to work on to develop more awareness and incorporate tools when triggers or anxiety presents itself between sessions.

In a Coaching session, a coach will partner with the client to set an agreement and measure of success to work towards a desired result. Once the agreement is met, the coach will ask powerful questions to evoke awareness around that topic to help guide the client to clarify how to get to this goal. In the process, a client has the answers and can uncover valuable insights. Towards the end of the session, the coach will facilitate client growth by helping them to create a plan, actionable steps and accountability. The goal is for the client to feel complete in that session.

When we start to address our personal struggles, it can be difficult to decide which path is the right one for you. Coaching and therapy both offer valuable support systems that allow us to gain insight into our decisions and behaviors. However, they take different approaches: coaching focuses on goal-setting strategies for future success while therapy dives deeper in exploring past experiences, mental illnesses or unresolved wounds that show up in our present situation. By understanding your individual needs you can determine if either of these paths will help guide you towards a more fulfilling life!


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Michele Veglia, a Certified Holistic Coach at Peaceful Living Mental Health Counseling from The Holistic Coach Training Institute, an ICF (International Coaching Federation) accredited program.

Shel believes that everyone has potential to create what they want to experience in their lives. Every individual is unique and can up level their life's path to come into alignment with their true purpose.

Shel loves working with individuals that are excited to shine a light on their soul's desires and are ready to transform.

Shel is available for morning, afternoon and evening appointments virtually or in-person

Shel is able to provide virtual coaching sessions nationwide as well as internationally.


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