An Introduction to Coaching, Counselling, and Psychotherapy

Jul 2024 | lifestyle, mental wellness, resources

As Singaporeans, we have done well for ourselves in terms of providing mental health support and services, as well as combating the stigma around mental health treatments. Currently, our Mental Health Index is ranked fourth in the Asia Pacific region, behind New Zealand, Australia and Taiwan.

However, there is scope for further improvement. A recent employee survey has found that about a third of Singaporean respondents still experience conditions like depression, anxiety and isolation. Thankfully, it’s become much easier to reach out and seek professional help. There are many types of mental health services available in Singapore, with coaching, counselling and psychotherapy being the most common. 

Here’s an introduction to coaching, counselling, and psychotherapy and how to tell which type suits your needs the best.


In sports, coaches are individuals who mentor and guide you in order to achieve certain goals. The same is true for mental health. Coaching provides support and the professional insight you need to reach specific targets. 

Some examples of these objectives include improving your stress coping mechanisms, enhancing your work performance, being more confident in public, improving the way you resolve conflict or learning how to strengthen relationships. In short, coaching helps you navigate your way to achieving personal growth goals. 

Coaching is often offered in a working environment, but is also available for personal improvements. Coaching sessions can take place one on one, as well as in groups. 

The main difference between coaching and counselling/ psychotherapy is that the former is catered to individuals who are already functional (or highly functional) but want to build certain skills (i.e. mental, social, etc.) or resilience.

In short, it focuses on the present and the future. It is therefore suitable for those who wish to enhance areas of their professional or personal lives. 

Individuals who seek coaching have a specific goal in mind that they want to achieve, rather than needing professional assistance to navigate through a mental health issue. 

Here at Safe Expanse, you can find performance and life coaching services, parenting coaching, as well as Enneagram Coaching. The latter involves helping people discover their personality type and what they can do, based on their personality, to become the best version of themselves.


The terms counselling and therapy are sometimes used interchangeably, leading to some confusion. In actual fact, counselling and psychotherapy (the proper term) represent two different approaches to mental health. Counselling is better suited to individuals with mild to moderate issues seeking short term solutions to their current challenges. 

A counsellor will not seek to diagnose you nor depend on psychological theories and modalities. Instead, they will help by asking the correct questions so that you can explore your feelings. Gradually, with your counsellor’s help, you’ll be able to discover the solutions to your problems, and take appropriate actions. 

Think of counselling as a confidential space where you can unpack your emotional baggage and discover healthier ways of navigating life’s challenges. Examples of situations where counselling might be recommended, include healing from the loss of a loved one, working through relationship problems with your spouse or adjusting to a new environment.


Psychotherapy is meant to address recurring, chronic and deep-seated mental health concerns. This form of therapy takes place over a longer period of time compared to counselling, and involves more theory and protocol driven methods. 

Psychotherapy delves deeper than counselling, exploring the root causes of your struggles and how they might be linked to past experiences or unconscious patterns of behaviour. Through established therapeutic techniques, a psychotherapist can help you address these underlying issues and work towards lasting change.

Interestingly, this form of therapy can involve more than just talking. Approaches may also involve expressive arts sessions, playtime and interactions with pets. Psychotherapy is the preferred method of treatment for chronic conditions like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) and the like.

Finding the Perfect Fit 

With all that said, you might be wondering which option is most ideal for your situation. The best choice depends on your specific needs and goals. 

If you would like to improve your professional or personal life and or have specific goals you’d like to achieve, coaching could be a fantastic fit.  

Coaching is a collaborative journey towards self-improvement, where a qualified professional acts as your guide and cheerleader. Coaching usually aims to deliver a set of skills and tools you can use to enhance specific parts of your life. . This supportive partnership empowers you to navigate transitions, unlock your full potential, and ultimately become the best version of yourself.

Counselling, on the other hand, aims to help you find solutions to short term challenges. You will be encouraged to share your feelings and experiences in a safe and non-judgemental space. 

You will be guided to gradually discover the best path of action to take for your current situation, while still holding on to your values. Counsellors aim to be supportive and provide a listening ear as you navigate through the problem-solving process. Counselling is usually meant for functioning individuals who find themselves facing a bump in the road of life. 

When grappling with deeper emotional issues or diagnosed mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, or PTSD, psychotherapy provides a powerful form of support. Psychotherapy relies on scientifically established theories, models and methodologies. 

This form of therapy may take a longer time to come into effect, at times up to several years. However, the positive impact of psychotherapy is enduring and helps build long-lasting resilience.

This makes psychotherapy ideal for treating diagnosed conditions, processing past trauma, developing healthier personality patterns, and ultimately, building resilience and improving your overall mental well-being. 

If you’re still unsure when it comes to getting the help that you need, reach out to us here at Safe Expanse. Our team of trained professionals will surely be able to offer some guidance and help you achieve mental wellness.


Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Coaching, counselling, and psychotherapy all offer powerful tools for navigating life’s challenges and achieving greater well-being. Don’t hesitate to talk to qualified professionals, and take the first step on your journey to a more fulfilling life. Remember, you deserve to thrive!

If you’re looking for a therapist, then you’ve come to the right place. At Safe Expanse, it is our mission to provide a safe experience for our clients to expand their ability to connect with themselves and others, and in the process grow to experience more freedom and aliveness in their being.