Every time I meet new people, they all inevitably ask me the exact same question: “What do you do for work?”
When I tell them I’m an Art Therapist and a Coach, I am usually met with one of two responses: A) “Oh, great!” sheepish smile, chuckle. “I’m sorry, what do you do?“? Or, B) Dumbfounded look, and straight to the point, “You do what?!”
Of all the lucrative careers I could have chosen for myself, I have become passionately embedded in two of the newest, most misunderstood professions: Art Therapy and Life Coaching.
This post is all about explaining, in detail, what it is I do as an Art Therapist and what I do as a Coach, and how the two are complementary and yet completely different.
It’s true; therapy has no place in coaching.? However, coaching can be sometimes useful in a professional therapeutic relationship.
For starters, let me point out the major differences between the two professions.
- In a nutshell, a therapist uses questions, tools, assessments, and modalities to help you investigate.
- A Coach, on the other hand, uses questions, tools, and modalities to act as your partner in changing a stated behavior or problem.
- A Coach cares very little about where and how the behavior started.? As a Coach, I want to know what you want to change (you would like to stop smoking) and we will work together to create structured and personalized goals.? My job is to hold you accountable to your goals, cheer you on, and use my professional expertise to guide you.? We work together as partners rather than as helper (therapist) and helpless (client/patient).
- On the other hand, therapy digs down to the root of the problem, whatever that problem may be.? You say you want to stop smoking?? A therapist will work closely with you to discover those underlying, hidden, roots that have led you to begin, and continue, to smoke.? Once the roots are exposed, you will work closely in a therapeutic and supportive relationship to eliminate the behavior, through whatever modality or specialty the therapist offers (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? Art Therapy? Music Therapy? Psychoanalysis?).
- As an Art Therapist, together we will use Creativity and the act of creating a finished product as a vehicle for communication.? Say what?!? I know, it’s difficult to grasp, which is why Art Therapist don’t often get the respect we deserve.? It is my job to understand your needs the best that I can, and to offer you creative experiences in a safe, therapeutic way that can allow you to peer inside of yourself. It is not my job to interpret, that is the job of the artist.? Rather, it is my job to reflect what you say and what you see in a way that can allow you to grieve, move forward, heal, progress, or whatever your need is at that time.
- As a Coach, my role will always be as your equal, and I will use questions, tools, and conversation to tap into your wisdom about your Life. You are, however, the expert on your Self. As in my practice of Art Therapy, my job as your Coach is to?reflect what you say and what you see in a way that can allow you to grieve, move forward, heal, progress, or whatever your need is at that time.
Interested? Feel free to email me?with any questions, comments, or thoughtful revelations.