Why Health Coaching?

(And how’s it different from therapy?)

E. Katherine Kottaras


Both psychotherapy and health coaching draw from the same theoretical frameworks to help clients facilitate change, so skills and scope of practice overlap; it provides an opportunity for professionals to acknowledge that they exist along a continuum, with ultimate goal being to support clients’ mental and physical health. However, health coaching is not a mental health service. Psychotherapists are trained specifically to assess, diagnose, and treat mental disorders but of course, they may support clients who have coexisting chronic and acute somatic diseases.


Health coaching stems from positive psychology so that coaches are trained to help clients look at possibilities rather than problems and causes. Similarly, coaches support clients as they implement mindfulness, if it is something that the client is interested in adding to their own agenda. The skills of coaching are intended to support client-led self-identified health goals.

Goal-oriented Conversations

Another interesting point of difference is that there are no “in-between” check-ins between client and therapists (though they are available when client is in crisis), whereas coaches might offer friendly, goal-oriented reminders that may be welcome from the client (and you, as the client, get to decide what’s welcome vs. what’s not). I think this last point offers a specific example that highlights a key difference in the scope of practice: therapists are very strict about communication policies and the sharing of personal information. Coaches must also create boundaries between the personal and the professional, but we can be available for those goal-oriented conversations in between sessions.

A Supportive and Collaborative Partnership

In other words, the intention of the coaching process is to establish a partnership between us, where you are at the center, and I am here to support you as you discover ways to determine what your unique health goals are that you want to achieve and to discover ways to succeed and sustain those goals. Although I have some experience and a knowledge base, you are the ultimate decision maker, and the nature of our sessions are intended to be collaborative and focused on what you know is best for you.

​I look forward to working with you!


Jordan, M. & Livingston, J. (2013). Coaching vs psychotherapy in health and wellness: Overlap, dissimilarities, and the potential for collaboration. www.gahmj.com https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.7453/gahmj.2013.036



E. Katherine Kottaras

M.A. English// M.S. Kinesiology, Integrative Wellness. Contemplative teacher & writer. 🏳️‍🌈☮️🌴🍕 Chronic pain yields chronic hope.