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Is ADHD coaching the same as psychotherapy?

Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine

ADHD coaching is not psychotherapy. A psychotherapist is a mental health professional who is trained to help with emotional and behavioral issues.

In contrast, a coach can only offer suggestions and guidance about strategies and practical skills for managing and navigating through daily life.

There’s some overlap, of course. Like a coach, your therapist may work with you on practical ways to achieve short-term goals. A kind of therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy, for example, can often help people with ADHD figure out how to change specific ways of thinking and acting that interfere with success.

 

Coaching for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is different from psychotherapy. For starters, therapists often hold graduate degrees in psychology, social work, or counseling. They spend years in training and receive many hours of supervision from professionals working in the field of psychotherapy. Psychotherapists hold certifications and licenses that enable them to practice therapy with their clients.

Coaches, on the other hand, are not required to complete formal education or be certified or licensed by any board. Coaches are not trained to diagnose and treat mental illness, but psychotherapists are. A psychotherapist may offer some of the same benefits as a coach, such as assisting with goal setting and time management issues. However, a coach focuses solely on practical day-to-day problems such as these, without straying into mental health treatment.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

ADHD coaching is not psychotherapy. A psychotherapist is a mental health professional who is trained to help with emotional and behavioral issues.

 

In contrast, a coach can only offer suggestions and guidance about strategies and practical skills for managing and navigating through daily life.

 

There’s some overlap, of course. Like a coach, your therapist may work with you on practical ways to achieve short-term goals. A kind of therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy, for example, can often help people with ADHD figure out how to change specific ways of thinking and acting that interfere with success.

 

That being said, it is not uncommon to work with both a therapist and a coach.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.