My Career Is In The Doldrums

Do I Need A Coach Or A Therapist?

by Nina Ham

Is Monday the worst day of your week? Can you hardly remember when you enjoyed going to work? Do friends ask why you seem so down? Maybe this has been going on awhile, and you're realizing it's time to do something. But where do you turn? At one moment you tell yourself "It's just my career. . . Change that, and everything will be OK". Another moment, you acknowledge you're living under a cloud and a lot of old emotional ghosts are returning. Your friend who's recommending you consult her therapist may be right.

Your uncertainty is understandable. Work itself is never "just work" but can reach deep into our attitudes toward ourselves and into our sense of belonging in the world. Furthermore, therapy and coaching have much in common and differ primarily in the emphasis each places on action and understanding. Whether you decide to deal with your work issues through a practical approach or a psychological approach is a matter of choice. The questions posed below should help you make that choice.

If you come to the conclusion that you want to look into psychotherapy, it 's advisable to look for word-of-mouth recommendations whenever possible. Another possibility is to consult your local Mental Health Association. Many people find it empowering to ask for sample visits with at least two therapists before making their decision. If you decide on coaching, be sure to inquire about training, in addition to experience, as you're looking for a coach. The International Coaching Federation maintains a credential that assures the client of a high level of both training and experience. And remember, nothing precludes doing therapy and coaching simultaneously. Some people find it a powerful duo. Good luck on your quest!

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About the Author

Nina Ham, certified coach and licensed psychotherapist, is principal of Success from the Inside Out, providing individual coaching and teleseminars to build the skills, attitudes and habits for sustainable success in your career or business. Mail to:, subscribe in subject line, for free monthly e-zine, or visit

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