3 Ways to Choose What Kind of Help You Need for Managing Your Mental Health

The following blog post is in response to a recently trending Quora question. You can see the original question and response here.

Mental health is an important topic to address, and it can be hard to know where to start. There are so many different kinds of help out there! Coaches, therapists, counsellors- which one should I pick? What kind of help do you need the most? When in doubt, consider these three ways that people choose what kind of mental health support they need.

There are a few reasons why people spend a lot of money on mental health instead of just reading self-help books. One is that self-help books are not a one-size-fits all solution. They may have some general information about the topic, however it does not always address specific interests of an individual and they never provide any personalized resources to work through their problems. Another reason why self help book are ineffective aws therapy or coaching is because there can be no accountability without having someone else involved in the process who understands what's going on with you.

The advantages of therapy and coaching sessions is that they give people tools for self growth while also providing them with tangible results from both their own efforts and those of the therapist or coach. It provides people with hope by showing progress over time which self help books often do not offer since they just discuss.

Advantages of self-help books:

  • provide self-guided education,
  • low cost,
  • offer more variety
  • are accessible for people who cannot afford to go see a therapist or coach.

Disadvantages of self-help books:

  • self help is not personalized because the content in all self use material can be applied to any person regardless of their situation;
  • people don't always know how effective they're being with techniques learned from reading self -helped materials since it's challenging to measure progress without consulting someone else.
  • Self helped books do not offer support and accountability which therapy and coaching does so this might make them less successful over time as well as an ineffective option if your goal is long term change that lasts beyond the duration of a book.

Advantages of therapy:

  • the therapist is trained in psychological and self-help techniques so they can teach you a lot of different ways to cope with the problems;
  • therapy, counseling and coaching offer accountability - if your goal is long term change that lasts beyond just reading self help books or going on self improvement retreats then these are very good.

Disadvantages of therapy:  

  • the cost. Regardless of what type you get, therapy is expensive and can't be covered by most insurance plans - that means self-pay for the duration or a prearranged payment agreement with your provider if they accept credit cards.
  • how long it takes to see results from therapy; sometimes people are disappointed because progress isn't quick enough but this depends largely on the individual. Some clients have shorter timeframes than others when it comes to managing their mental health issues so don't feel discouraged if after six sessions there's not a significant  improvement in your condition.

How much do therapists charge? A typical cost for therapy sessions or individual psychotherapy starts at $100 per session up to about $200 (or more) depending on what type of issue needs special attention. Counseling costs less than therapy because it's not as intensive: most counselors don't see clients past 12 times whereas some people will need ongoing work for their issues from a therapist.

If you're looking to save money on counseling services, contact local universities in your state: many offer low rates for students as well as faculty/staff members who work there (which includes graduate level therapists).


If therapy and self-help books are not your thing, then coaching may be a good option for you. Coaching is affordable and does not take up as much of your time but can still help you to grow through self-discovery and self-confidence building exercises. There are many different types of 'coaches' out there but often with different names such as 'life coach', 'spiritual life coach' or just a general self-help/therapy coaching. Essentially though, the intention of a coach is to help you grow and evolve. Because of the amount of different coaches out there, you can very easily find a coach that aligns with your interests, values and personality. There are many different types of coaches so it's important to find the right one that best aligns with your interests, values and personality. For example, if someone wanted something more spiritual in nature they could look into life or 'spirituality' coach

Some famous life coaches are:

~ Tony Robbins

~ Stephen Richards

~ Oprah Winfrey

The difference between therapy and coaching is  that coaching is less intensive: most coaches don't see clients past 12 times whereas some people will need ongoing work for their issues from a therapist.

Coaching might be the best option if someone just wants an outside perspective or accountability without all of the intensity that therapy entails. Coaches are often more flexible with schedules and charge less than self-help material providers like books, workshops and CDs. Plus it's easier to get started because there's no set curriculum so anyone can coach about anything they want!

The cost for coaching can range from $100 to around $150 per hour session with some coaches offering sessions by phone as well (free of charge).

Some coaches offer follow up sessions after the initial discussion, which will be charged at the regular rate and given one time notice.

Coaches are usually paid in advance because they rely on predictable income that is not subject to changes in the economy.

Coaches will usually ask for a contract and you'll be asked to set goals at the beginning of your coaching sessions.

It's also important to establish boundaries because sometimes, coaches are not equipped or trained with all of the tools needed to give advice on certain subjects that may have more intense effects than self-help materials like books, workshops and CDs offer.

Never hesitate asking any questions about how long it would take before seeing results through coaching since every person is different! You can always contact your coach if you're unsure too so they can help clarify what their services include.

An awesome life coach should:

  • work towards helping you reach the same stage of development as them and then communicate to you when you are at this stage. Effectively there is nothing more they can guide you towards that they have experienced, so they should either help you find another more experienced coach who can help or seek a mentor themselves to help guide them guide you (if you are hesitant to change coach.)
  • understand and explain that they do not have all the answers for you  but instead, act as a coach and guide by and help by empowering you to find the answers that work best for you through a structured framework.
  • realize that they are not an expert on everything and should take a step back to help you find the best person for your needs.

Personally, a few years ago I began my own self-discovery journey. As a marketing executive and entrepreneur I struggled with the distractions of the outside world and became increasingly aware of an inner calling to work on my true human potential. I became involved in a foundation called Hero's Journey, led by experienced psycho therapists, facilitators and counsellors. After experiencing life-changing transformation I wanted to open the door to self-discovery and personal growth in the same way it had been introduced to me and so I set up an online community called modernheroesclub.com. Our intention is to set people on the path of personal growth, development and realizing their human potential through:

  • Weekly & Monthly online Hero Circles (via zoom)
  • 12-week value and purpose based bootcamp programs (exclusively online via zoom)
  • Personal coaching & mentorship
  • Online courses.

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