The Raphael Remedy

Therapy, Spiritual Direction or Coaching: What do you need?

by | Sep 16, 2021 | Coaching

“My world shrank after Covid. The kids are grown and not sure
what I should be doing at this point. The social network
I once had is smaller. Some friends see things very
differently and it’s hard to talk and relate anymore.”

That was what I heard from an old acquaintance who reached out to me recently. Feeling a bit anxious and unsettled, she wasn’t sure what to do or even what kind of help she needed. She just knew she needed someone to talk to.

With all that is going on in the world, many of you may be finding yourselves feeling anxious and depressed. For some, therapeutic intervention is warranted as these feelings may have gotten unmanageable and are impacting your daily functioning.

For others, your feelings don’t rise to a point of needing psychological intervention. You need some direction and encouragement. You may be having to reorient or reinvent your life and even your livelihood. Nearly everything you counted on may feel like shifting sand and you need a foothold.

With all adversity are seeds of opportunity. Sure, this nightmare we’re living through is awful. And yet, God in His wisdom is allowing it to unfold. Perhaps we need to see what a world without God really looks like, to shock people out of their complacency to turn back to Him. I know that doesn’t apply to most of you or you wouldn’t likely be on my mailing list.

So, if any of the above describes you, you may be wondering too, what kind of help do you actually need? Do you need a counselor or therapist? Or perhaps a life coach? Or maybe a spiritual director? What are the differences anyway? Let’s take a look.

Counseling and Therapy

Counseling and therapy help those struggling with issues that are generally rooted in the past that impact the emotional and thought life of the individual. A therapist will observe and diagnose past trauma, adjustment and mood disorders, personality, behavior and learning disorders, addictions and family of origin issues. The goal is healing of past wounds and traumas, and to address and correct maladaptive thought and behavior patterns in the present that may be rooted in those past wounds.

If past traumas in your life seem to trigger frequently, or addictions or family issues are making your life unmanageable, you’ll want to reach out to a therapist. If you find yourself in repeatedly negative patterns or abusive relationships, speaking with a therapist is a wise step. A Catholic therapist brings much to the table in that they do not work alone, but call on the grace and guidance of the Holy Spirit to bring light and healing. After all, God is the ultimate Healer. A Catholic therapist uses their knowledge and expertise in conjunction with His grace.

If you find that your symptoms of anxiety or depression related to the current state of the world is impacting your daily functioning and overwhelming your coping abilities, talking to a therapist is advisable and can be very helpful. Early treatment can circumvent more serious struggles later on. Much of what we have been, and are being subjected to, is traumatic, in and of itself, and can challenge our coping abilities. Reaching out for help is a first step in overcoming it.

Spiritual Direction

Spiritual direction is aimed toward helping you grow in holiness and in your relationship with God. As the name implies, the process is directive. A spiritual director is trained in understanding the spiritual life, and can help you discern the movements of the Holy Spirit. A good spiritual director can help identify obstacles to growth in holiness and suggest ways to improve your spiritual journey and relationship with Our Lord. Although emotional feelings do play a role in the spiritual life, spiritual direction is not a substitute for therapy if you are struggling with emotional or psychological distress.


Coaching is a relatively new and exciting field. Unlike therapy that is looking back to identify problems, coaching looks forward. Coaching relies on a level of client wellness and healthy emotional functioning. It’s about stability and growth, rather than healing. A coach can help you explore the gap between where you are now, and where you sense God may be calling you to be.

In any area where one pursues excellence or greatness, like sports, singing or business, a good coach is key to success.

So, if you want the best marriage, the best relationship with your kids, to build or improve your business or profession, to get a better work/life balance or to blaze a new path after Covid or retirement, coaching is for you. A Catholic Life Coach, that understands and supports your values, that can help you unlock the great calling that God implanted in you from all eternity, can be your best ally to become all that God created you to be, and to help you find the seeds of opportunity in this time of upheaval that we all face.

Catholic Life Coaches is now live and I’m very excited to see so many dynamic and amazing coaches that have signed up. From personal development, dating, marriage, parenting, health and wellness, to business and entrepreneurial coaches, the professionals you’ll find there will truly impress and inspire you. Be sure to check it out! We’re just out of the gate so our blog and events pages will follow soon.

Wishing you a life of peace and abundance, even through this storm.

Allison Ricciardi, LMHC
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