Savannah and I began talking about how horrible it is to read and hear stories about those trying to get help, only to be hurt by the professional they sought help from. We both realized it was something that needed to be addressed. So, we decided to work together and write this article for you guys! As these things go, often when I start digging into a story, I find far more that needs to be said than time and space to say it.
When addressing getting help for yourself and/or your relationship, there are so many things that you need to take into consideration before choosing the expert you want to work with. As Savannah states, “my husband and I, combined, have seen many different professionals with varying levels of qualifications and skills and I want to share with you what we have learned, so that you can avoid wasting time and money with the wrong person.” I concur.
We know how valuable your time and money are. We know that when it comes to relationships that are struggling, time is of the essence. The longer you wait, the worse the issues become. Getting help before resentment or indifference set in is crucial to giving your relationship a shot at healing! And even if it has set in, it’s still crucial.
Therapy or Coaching?
When looking for help, you first need to know what type of help it is you’re looking for. Most individuals are not really sure what the difference is between a therapist and a coach, or even a counselor, and often default to therapy out of simply being familiar and knowing what a therapist is.
What is Therapy?
Therapy is an amazing source for help when struggling with anything from the past that is interfering with the present. Therapists are great when past trauma comes into play, childhood attachment issues getting in the way, or mental health issues are present, and need to be addressed. Therapy is session based, where you meet your therapist either weekly, biweekly, or some other set schedule, and discuss the issues at hand, and through therapeutic models, they help you heal.
If you’re going through any of those things, therapy is definitely the right direction to move in!
Finding The Right Therapist
There are many people out there who are very “degree” focused and oriented when searching for help. We can tell you that having the top degrees and credentials behind the name doesn’t necessarily equate to the best help. Sometimes there are people who are naturally skilled at helping others and have a BA or MA and do the job so much better than the person with the PsyD. Oftentimes, the PsyD is more interested and motivated by their research than they are their patients or clients.
When it comes to figuring out which would be best at helping you, you need to do your own research. That means seeing what their experience is, who [not as in name, but as in type] their clientele is, and making sure you feel comfortable. Usually therapists offer a consultation session for free where you can ask them questions. I urge you to use this time wisely and go into this discussion with your own predefined set of expectations!
Ask away! Education can be an important question, but asking questions about their knowledge, experience, their methodology and models of treatment such as betrayal trauma model versus codependent model, etc. are very important.
The Worst Therapist Ever Story
My husband went to see a therapist who claimed to be a sex addiction expert. He had all the right credentials. Yet when he went to see his therapist, after a couple months of therapy explaining to him how porn addiction had been absolutely detrimental to his life, he confronted his therapist as to why he wasn’t addressing his porn addiction. The therapist’s response?
“I haven’t addressed it because you have no addiction and you have no problem and so I cannot help you.”
The therapist in question, who apparently “knew” my husband had no problem just sat back week after week not letting him know his thoughts on the matter and just allowed him to flounder trying to express himself all the while having no intention of helping him at all.
That is not a very good therapist and is highly unethical. This therapist even blamed me by telling my husband, “you don’t have a problem, your girlfriend has insecurity issues she needs to work on.” He also said, “unless you watch porn for hours on hours every single day you’re not an addict.” It didn’t matter that my husband had no motivation, was failing out of school, that our relationship was on the brink of total collapse, or that he literally wasn’t able to stop it despite the negative consequences for doing so, and that he used it whenever he felt anxious or depressed.
Because he didn’t use for hours on end, he apparently wasn’t an addict. This is indicative of a therapist who follows the codependent model.
“It is a very fair and reasonable question and expectation to ask your therapist if they follow the Betrayal Trauma Model or the Codependent Model. If you do not exhibit the indicators of codependency, the Codependent Model will not work for you and can cause much more harm than good.”
What is Coaching?
Coaching is very different from therapy. Coaching is present & future oriented. It is action oriented emphasizing focus on what can be done now and in the future. Therapy is past oriented, reflection oriented, and while reflection does occur in coaching too, a coach is there to hold you accountable, teach you skills and techniques, and to help you accomplish your established goals, uphold your values, and realize your hopes and dreams. Coaching is more personal and is a team effort. Coaching is not always session based, but unlike therapy, it is package based. Some coaches still use sessions, and some use packages, which are highly focused on specific issues designed to achieve specific results.
Finding The Right Coach
When looking for a coach, it’s similar to looking for a therapist. Make sure you feel comfortable with the coach, ask about their experience, their methods of helping, and whether or not they use the package model or session model. Session models are very open ended and are not clear as to the timeline and commitment. Whereas, when you sign up for a package/program, you know the time frame, commitment, and a generally reasonable expectation of results. I’ve found that the best coaches out there are those who’ve gone through the very issues they are helping their clients with. In the coaching industry, often coaches help clients that are just a few steps behind them. That way, the coach still understands and can empathize with the issues that their client is currently going through, but are far enough ahead where they’ve overcome the issue, and have found a system to get the results the clients desire.
Coaching occurs with the SMART goal framework in a SMART goal oriented environment:
S ~ Specific. The goal is specifically defined.
M ~ Measurable. There are clear indicators of measurable achievement.
A ~ Achievable. It is attainable. It is not beyond the reach of accomplishment.
R ~ Relevant. It has a direct correlation to what it is trying to accomplish.
T ` Timely. There is a start, a duration, and an end.
Do You Need A Therapist or A Coach?
Now that you know the difference between a therapist and a coach, which one is right for you? Only you can decide. Often, people end up finding both a therapist AND a coach because coaching and therapy are so symbiotic and complementary of one another. It really depends on your own needs. The next question becomes, “Do I need a specialist or generalist?” That often comes down to why you’re seeking help.
For us, at The Mod, we are specialists. We serve two types of clients because that is our area of expertise and we give targeted help to get our clients the results they desire. Sometimes a client needs more generalized help, and that would mean finding someone who fits those needs.
Who Are We?
We at The Mod specialize in helping clients struggling with trust, communication, and intimacy, as well as clients struggling with porn addiction, sex addiction, and betrayal trauma.
If you’re a couple struggling with SSA (Sexual Stimulation Addiction -masturbation, ponography, and/or sex addiction) or Betrayal Trauma, we have our Knights & Warriors 6 month program for married couples looking to work their individual recovery while working marital recovery in tandem.
Feel free to schedule a complimentary Path to Recovery session with us to familiarize yourself with our programs, and to get to know us better and see if we are the right fit for you!