Depression Coaching or Therapy – Which One Does Your Client Need?

Depression coaching has become more common as life coaches search for profitable niches and clients seek help for issues that influence their lives and happiness. But, it is important for both the coach and the client to remember that depression coaching is not a substitute for treatment or a treatment method itself.

Psychology Coaching
Psychology Coaching

In some ways it might be best to call depression coaches by a different name – perhaps sadness coaches.

Sadness V. Depression

If you specialize in depression as a life coach, it is critical for you to be able to tell the difference between someone who is sad and someone who is suffering from clinical depression.


  • Is a reaction to an event – betrayal, life change, death, end of relationship, financial loss, and other sad life events. This could often be called grief.
  • Is merely a deviation from the usual routine of life.
  • Involves the frequent need to cry, overeat, sleep, think about the past, feel sorry for oneself, and isolate oneself.
  • Is temporary and usually passes after a period of time.


  • Is a feeling of complete and utter despair.
  • Is a loss of enjoyment that persists for long periods of time.
  • Is a long-tern condition that effects all aspects of an individual’s life
  • Often involves self-loathing and the potential for self-harm.
  • Often involves a complete lack of drive or ambition.
  • Often comes with thoughts of suicide.
  • Is a mental disorder.

If you call yourself a depression coach, you have to know the difference. You’ll need to refer anyone you suspect of having clinical depression to a therapist. You are not a medical professional and have to skills for treating depression.

What Depression Coaching Can Do For Your Clients

The job of a life coach is to stand on the sidelines of their clients’ lives and offer support, encouragement, guidance, information, and assessment. A life coach who also offers depression coaching can provide plenty of help for clients who are suffering through sadness or temporary bouts of depression, grief, or loss.

  • Provide a safe place for clients to speak about their grief, loss, or causes of their depression.
  • Provide friendly, supportive sessions with a trained professional who will listen, provide feedback, and offer informed suggestions for improvement and enhancement.
  • Help clients clarify and define those areas of life that need improvement or will contribute to reducing and eliminating their sadness or depression.
  • Offer rewards and continued encouragement when goals are met, achievements are made, obstacles are overcome, or changes are identified.
  • Take the client out of their past, and have them analyze their present, and look forward to their future.

It’s Not Treatment It’s Coaching

Depression coaching is not treatment, it is merely a form of life coaching that focuses on sadness, grief, or loss. The same principles are involved – interviewing, active listening, support, goal identification, specific coaching exercises, and assessments. Just continue to offer support, encouragement, guidance, motivation, and inspiration, but if you suspect your client has clinical depression, refer them to a mental health specialist who is trained to handle the mental disorder known as depression.

Hope you took some great value out of this post today! I’d love to hear your feedback, so make sure you leave a comment with your thoughts or questions. And also, you can click on the Twitter button below to retweet this article… Thank you!

Fred Philips
Business Coach
Writing Team, Coaches Training Blog Community

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Facebook comments:


  1. Sean Christian says

    I have not tried depression coaching. I would really like to try this out so that I can increase my income.

  2. Jong Vicen says

    Thanks for differentiating sadness and depression. This means a lot to my clients who needs depression coaching.

  3. Neil says

    This is a very delicate subject and I really appreciate you writing about the difference of the two.

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