Ep #81: Therapy vs. Life Coaching with Sandy Arguello

Therapy vs. Life Coaching with Sandy Arguello

A topic I’ve been wanting to talk about for a while here on the podcast is therapy versus life coaching. Many of you know that I’ve gone through therapy myself and have my experience of it as a client, but it didn’t sit right with me to just speak from that place. So, I have the perfect person to come on and share her wisdom on both modalities, and I can’t wait for you to listen in.

Sandy Arguello is both a therapist and a life coach, and she has a really unique perspective on the differences between them. So many of you come to me asking if you need therapy, or if life coaching is more beneficial, or how to know which one you need, and Sandy and I are diving into all of it today.

Join us on the podcast this week as Sandy generously shares her insights on the differences between life coaching and therapy, and how to identify which one you might need. There aren’t necessarily any right or wrong answers here, but I hope that by sharing this conversation, this episode sheds some light on how to know what is best for you.

Listen to the Full Episode:

If you like what you’ve been hearing on this podcast and want to create a future you can truly get excited about even after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to join my Mom Goes On coaching program. It’s small group coaching just for widowed moms like you where I’ll help you figure out what’s holding you back and give you the tools and support you need so you can move forward with confidence.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • What attracted Sandy to life coaching.
  • The differences between therapy and life coaching.
  • One limit that signifies you need therapy over life coaching.
  • How to know whether you would benefit from therapy or life coaching.
  • My personal experience of therapy and life coaching and how they helped me in different ways.
  • Why Sandy doesn’t think depression is a dealbreaker that means you need therapy.
  • Sandy’s thoughts on doing both therapy and life coaching in tandem.


Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 81, Therapy Vs. Life Coaching with special guest, Sandy Arguello.

Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, the only podcast that offers a proven process to help you work through your grief, to grow, evolve, and create a future you can truly look forward to. Here’s your host, Master Certified life coach, grief expert, widow, and mom, Krista St-Germain.

Hey there. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. If this is the first time you have ever listened, welcome. Nice to have you here. Little update before we jump into the podcast. Came home from the trip to Arkansas with the boyfriend only to discover that his oldest who is 18 got COVID. Super fun.

And fortunately he did really well with it. Wasn’t too painful for him. And but, then we had to go through the whole quarantine thing, so looking forward to when this is all over. That was entertaining. And also, so, so excited to have started a certification for emotional freedom technique, also known as tapping.

You’ve heard me talk about it on the podcast many times. I love this tool. I’ve used it with my children, for myself, for years, it was so helpful in processing all of the emotions that I felt after Hugo died. It was so helpful in processing some of the more traumatic aspects of the accident and the memories and things that were haunting me later.

And I’m just incredibly excited to be part of a certification program so that I can be more qualified to bring this modality into my coaching. It’s one thing to experience it personally, it’s another thing to have a clinical certification and really be able to make the most of the tool and all the different ways that it can be used so that I can help other widows like us.

And I’m really excited to do that. In fact, as soon as I get done recording this podcast, I’m going into a four-day online workshop. This certification is no joke. It’s quite demanding but that’s good. That’s what I want because I don’t want it to be easy. I want to go in there and learn it and have it be hard and come out the other side with a lot of confidence that I understand the tool deeply and how to use it.

So super excited about that. For this episode of the podcast, I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while, but it’s just never quite sat right with me because I always felt like if I do a podcast on life coaching versus therapy, then it doesn’t really feel unbiased.

Even though I’ve done both and even though I can speak from my own unique experience, which is really all any of us can ever do, it feels a little biased. And then it occurred to me, I could actually have someone come on and talk about this with us, someone who truly knows.

And so I’m excited to introduce you to Sandy Arguello. Sandy is both a therapist and a life coach. She’s been a therapist much, much longer than she’s been a life coach and she has a really unique perspective on the differences, which I think will be useful to you because I know so many of you ask me, do I need therapy? Do I need life coaching? What would be helpful? How do I know?

And I know it can be hard to figure out what kind of support is most useful to you, and so I hope that this episode will shed some light on that for you. And of course, if you still have questions after you listen to it, reach out. You can email me, you can ask me, you can reach out to Sandy and ask her. You can reach out to any therapist or someone else that you might know in your local community.

It doesn’t have to be us, but we’re here to help you and hopefully this episode will provide and shed some light on when to choose therapy, when to choose life coaching, what are the differences, and how do you know what’s best for you. Alright, so I hope you enjoy it and with that, we will jump on in.

Krista: Welcome to the podcast, Sandy. I’m excited you’re here.

Sandy: I’m thrilled to be here.

Krista: Why don’t you start by just telling us a little bit about yourself.

Sandy: My name is Sandy Arguello and I’m the director, clinical director of a non-profit mental health agency. I’m a marriage and family therapist and I’ve been licensed for approximately 25 years. I’ve also been the director and the clinical director of the agency for those same 25 years, and I was certified as a life coach with you in 2017. One of the most amazing weeks of my life.

I decided to go into life coaching from being a therapist because I wanted to do something that was more fun. So there’s a lot of things that happen in therapy, and I know you and I are going to talk about that, but it’s a regulated industry. And so the part that’s most difficult for me is that we do a lot of paperwork to prove that we’re doing people work.

And that was a great deal of my attraction to being a life coach was just to get into an industry where I was still helping people but that I wasn’t doing as much of proving the work that I was doing, trying to fight with insurance companies. I wanted to have less regulations around me as a professional. So I still love my full-time job, but I love my coaching practice as well.

Krista: Love it. Yeah, I’ve been wanting to talk about the differences between life coaching and therapy for a long time, but I’ve always hesitated a little bit because my only experience with therapy is as a consumer, is as a client. So I never really felt qualified to talk about it from anything more than that perspective.

And for me, therapy was incredibly useful. Several different times in my life. But then there have been times where life coaching is more useful. So I guess all that to say I’m excited to have somebody on here who has a perspective of life coaching and of therapy that comes from an educated place, not just the place of a consumer.

So I’m curious to know just backing up a little bit because you’ve been a therapist and involved in the therapy world for so much longer than you’ve been a life coach, why did you go towards life coaching? You’re already licensed as a therapist, you already have a successful job, you’re helping people. Why life coaching?

Sandy: Honestly, life coaching is fun and I wanted to be a life coach since 2009. And there was just something about it again, because it’s an unregulated industry. To have this opportunity to just really help people in a way that I didn’t have to meet the mandates of a state board or national standard. Mostly honestly, to get away from the insurance industry in that everything we do in my non-profit has to go through an approval process.

And sometimes we’re seeking approval for 15 minutes of service. We work an hour of paperwork or more to get 15 minutes of service, and that’s very tiring. And I’ve been a therapist long enough that my original career didn’t start out like that.

Now, there’s plenty of therapists who don’t bill insurance. There are people in private practice. You can do that. But again, I have a coaching model in general, even as a therapist, and I was just always very attracted to this idea of again, doing it online, being able to be on a Zoom call, have clients anywhere in the world. And so for all of those reasons, I was really interested in life coaching.

Krista: Right, so then that reminded me of something, which I didn’t know when I became a life coach is that as a therapist, because you’re licensed by the state, we can take coaching clients from anywhere in the world. You can only take therapy clients from people that live within your physical state.

Sandy: Yes. And I do think there’s some national – I’m starting to see it now, where there are some national online therapy, so somehow they may be working that out. But yes, in general, I am supposed to only be seeing people for me, as a licensed therapist, people in my own state.

The other thing is as a therapist, I see people in person. And this whole idea of using Zoom or a phone call is really a wonderful way to connect with people and it’s good for people and it’s good for me in terms of what I want to do, in terms of my own freedom. And it allows me to work different hours and I really like that too.

Krista: I remember when the pandemic started and all of my non-life coach friends who weren’t used to working virtually started working on Zoom, and it was just such a big deal for people who hadn’t been doing it and weren’t used to it. And for me and probably for you, as it relates to your life coaching, it was just no big deal.

Sandy: Exactly. And we did go to TeleMed and we do a lot of TeleMed, and even right now with the pandemic, there’s times when we need to do things online and then there’s times when we’re able to do things in person right now. And I love it, but it is an adjustment, especially for a therapist. It does take some getting used to.

Krista: Yeah, it’s my normal. I don’t know, all of my life coaching calls, I’ve never done them in person. They’ve always been online. So I get a lot of questions and people want to understand, how do I know what I need? How do I know when I need life coaching? How do I know when I need therapy? What am I looking for?

So for me, and then I want to hear your perspective, therapy was instrumental in me getting back to just being able to function. It was – I needed to tell my story, I needed my therapist to hear me, I needed to process what happened at the accident and just be able to articulate it and get it out and kind of make sense of it.

Get myself back to being able to just really go through the motions of the day. And she – I’m not saying I couldn’t have done it, but it was really so helpful to have her there to be able to get myself to go back to work, to start getting back into my routines, and to have that place to just dump all of the ick that had happened that wasn’t my family, my friends, like an impartial third person.

But there also came a part for me where I felt she was telling me how strong I was, and I wasn’t feeling all that strong. I was feeling okay, but she was like, yeah, you’re great, you don’t need me anymore. I was like, I don’t know if that’s true.

What if my best days are behind me? What if I really won’t be happy again? Yeah, I’m doing okay, I’m functioning, and my kids are being fed and I’m back to work, but am I going to feel this way forever? Enter life coaching for me, and life coaching was what gave me the tools to kind of move forward and start living again on purpose.

So I want to hear from you, who is both a therapist and a life coach. How do you answer that question? When I benefit from life coaching? When do I need therapy?

Sandy: You know Krista, you give such a great definition and I’ve heard you give that description before of how you got there. And in the beginning, we all have times in our life, I believe, where the crisis is so significant that we really don’t feel like we’re functioning. And we may even feel – certainly if you ever feel like you’re at risk of harming yourself or someone else, those are the big ones.

But as you talk about even just being able to get out of bed, get to work, I think there’s a sinking feeling that comes over us, and we all feel it in different parts of our bodies. But there’s a time when we just – the dread is so significant, that’s probably when we need to see a therapist.

But it’s interesting that you went on with your description because there did come a time for you and I think there comes a time for all of us when maybe the therapist says, hey, you don’t need to see me anymore, and then you reached a point where you’re like, yeah, but I feel like there’s something more. And that’s that place where I think we get to where we’re ready for a pivot.

I like to call it from good to great. There comes a point when we’re ready to move to a higher level of – maybe a new part of our lives, a new way of seeing ourselves. Not that that can’t happen in therapy. It absolutely can. But the whole coaching model is so future focused and in the presence tense.

I know that we often describe therapy as being about the past. It’s not. That’s one way to talk about it but that’s only part of it. Again, I think it’s more about that feeling of dread for therapy when we don’t even necessarily feel like we can get to work or want to get to work. But the life coaching is when life’s pretty good, we’re doing okay, and I just feel like there’s something out there and I know it’s there and I’m not quite sure how to get there.

Krista: Yeah. Sometimes I have thought about it as it’s kind of cliche but where I find a lot of my coaching clients come to me, they find themselves in a position that they would describe as surviving. It isn’t that heavy dread that you spoke of, but it’s like almost a hollowness or an emptiness or just kind of untethered feeling where they’re getting through, they’re surviving, but it’s definitely far from thriving or from loving life.

Sandy: Those people that describe it that way, have they already had therapy or not? What’s the…

Krista: It so depends. I’ve given up on thinking that I know the predictive way that it needs to go. I’m so much more open to the idea that I don’t. Sometimes I’ve had women join my program who were literally a couple of weeks out after the loss of their partner, and who if you had just showed me that on paper, I probably wouldn’t have thought that they were prepared or in a place that that would best serve them, and I’ve been proven wrong.

Then I’ve had people who have been in a lot of therapy and are quite a ways out from the loss, who I would have thought on paper are probably ready and I have been proven wrong. So yeah, there’s just no predictability.

Sandy: You’re right. And even as we try to describe it, honestly, there’s not going to be a nice clean answer in a box that we can give. I think part of it is that either and or both can be helpful. And one of the things that I think is important is that it’s okay to shop for the therapist or the life coach. It has a lot to do with the match of who you land with, who you end up with.

Krista: I’m so glad that you said that.

Sandy: If you resonate with the person, I’m the client, I’m talking as the client. If I resonate with the person that I’ve reached out to, that’s going to be 90% of the success right there.

Krista: I agree so much. And having that experience in therapy before where I did have to shop a little bit and try a couple of therapists before I found one that I really felt like I could be open and honest with, the same is also true for life coaching. And of course, you and I, we’re surrounded by life coaches. And you’re probably surrounded by therapists too.

But I know there are certain people that I like getting coached by based on the connection that I feel, so I do think that’s a huge part of it is don’t just go with someone because of their expertise in a particular area. You also need the connection.

Sandy: Yes. And another thing in terms of therapy when you’re talking, I think there are times when people really do want to have that in-person connection. So if for some reason you’re feeling like driving to someone’s office, being with someone in person, then obviously that’s going to probably be a therapist as well.

Krista: Yeah, now that you say that, I also notice in because most of what I do now is group coaching and on Zoom, so people have the option of turning their camera on or off, and I notice that some people really value having their camera on and being able to connect visually with others. And there are others who just really prefer to be a little bit farther removed and keep their camera off and just listen in or maybe only turn their camera on when it’s their turn to get coached if they’re getting coached. So it’s kind of a do what works.

Sandy: Exactly. Well, and the idea of turning off your camera is very interesting because the benefit of that is you can still see everybody else. And again, there’s no right answer. It’s whatever works for the person and I love the idea that you’re doing group coaching because as you’ve talked about in other venues, I’ve heard you talk about it that that’s such a rich environment for people to hear other people’s journeys and to share what’s happening. It’s such a powerful model.

Krista: I was really nervous about switching to groups because I was worried what the dynamic would be like and could I be able to meet everyone’s needs. And I’ve been really, really pleased. I think we make so much progress.

So much of the shared experience gets normalized quickly and we stop feeling like we’re on an island by ourselves with no one to understand or relate. Or we stop questioning that there’s something wrong with us individually because we see our struggle reflected in the rest of the group.

And I think people sometimes worry it’ll be this pity party; it’ll be a downer. But it turns out to be the opposite of that. It turns out to be a place where people can be emotionally open and vulnerable but also supported. And then because of that, they make so much more progress.

Sandy: As we’ve seen, and you and I watch this all the time both as clients ourselves and in our colleagues and peers, when you see someone else being coached, when you hear someone else being coached, somehow it always relates back to you. And that’s the beauty of it. It doesn’t have to be you talking all the time. You’re processing all of your own stuff regardless of who’s being coached. Your groups aren’t that big, are they? How many people do you max out at?

Krista: So I run one collective group. So it’s a revolving door. So every month I add – right now I add eight people every month and then every month eight people finish. But I have multiple calls in a week and many of my women are working, so not everyone attends every call. So it still feels fairly small and intimate but it’s a little bit different in that they all start at different times.

But I kind of like that because then I always have this one new group that I can focus more attention on and get them comfortable, and then I always have the group who has been there long enough, but they still remember what it was like to be new. And they’re very encouraging and supportive, and then some that are moving along.

And then I have a continuation program after the initial six months, I have an opportunity for those that want to keep going. So my first group, none of them wanted to leave. It was so awesome. We love coaching. I don’t think it came from a clingy place, but they just, as we did, you get the coaching bug and you realize the value of having a coach and they just wanted to stay, so that kind of then led into the next program.

Sandy: I have clients that have been with me the entire three years. They don’t coach every week. The entire three years that I’ve been a coach, I have some clients who still see me. And I love that. And I kind of do that as needed. They might do one session a month or we have some sort of a retainer and they just use up their sessions in time. And I love that because there is a depth of relationship, and so some people like those really short defined periods, and then other people like this long-standing relationship.

And so one thing that I would consider different for coaching and therapy that you just described, you have this revolving group. So you can have some people that are brand new to your group and you can have some people that have been there for a while, that revolving idea, that would be more of a coaching idea.

And it fits well with the coaching model because it isn’t therapy. So in a therapy group, everyone’s going to start and finish together. And again, it might be they have an exact curriculum or prescriptive idea of where they want to get to in say eight weeks or 10 weeks or 12 weeks, but that’s definitely a difference in a model that I see right there that you just described.

Krista: Yeah, I never really thought about that.

Sandy: Yeah, I hadn’t either. And I like the idea that it’s coaching. That’s what’s so cool about it because the coaching model becomes so universal regardless of the problem. And people get value regardless of where they are in their part of the process.

Krista: Yes. And you keep coming back to those same fundamentals that really don’t have anything to do with the individual circumstances of a person’s life, but you still keep coming back to those same core teachings I think that give value. So I wanted to ask you another follow up question because you had mentioned definitely therapy if you’re considering harming yourself or others. Is there anything else that you consider as an absolute limit of life coaching, thou shalt choose therapy?

Sandy: That’s a great question. I know you and I have talked before about the idea of depression and I don’t think that that’s a dealbreaker for coaching. I think I’m going to hold on my position. I mean, there’s other things that might show up, but when we talk about grief, I don’t have a hard line.

I think that if you’re functioning and you feel like you can function and there’s something about the idea of coaching that resonates with you, again, there’s no right answer or wrong answer, more importantly. No wrong answer.

This idea of – I don’t know, I’m not really worried about any other areas because if depression is a significant issue, it’s going to show up in those areas that we talked about, this idea of maybe potentially harming yourself or someone else. But for me, I don’t have any other significant lines. If I’m the client assessing for myself, if I’m trying to find out what’s best for me, that would be it right there. I don’t see another hard line.

Krista: Okay. And too when you say depression, I assume you mean in the clinical sense as opposed to depression, the feeling, depression, the emotion.

Sandy: Yes. Thank you for asking that question. So in our culture, our society, depression is a very easily used word. So having a diagnosis of depression versus I feel depressed. And even if you have a diagnosis of depression or someone’s on medication for it, is on an anti-depressant, that doesn’t make it a dealbreaker.

I mean, think about how many millions of people in our country are on anti-depressants or feel depressed and so I agree. Again, it’s like, please be careful with the labels we put on ourselves, all of us. And if you choose therapy, don’t own the label that you get that you’re going to see because someone is probably accessing your insurance. So you might end up with a diagnosis and then all of a sudden, we start to remember the name, that label of our diagnoses. And I don’t know…

Krista: And then use it as a way to limit ourselves?

Sandy: Yeah. That’s like okay, so many, many, many years ago, we didn’t really talk about how I became a therapist. When I was 25 years old, I felt depressed. And ultimately, I ended up at a therapist’s office and I received the diagnosis of dysthymia. That’s still a diagnosis that people can get today and it’s a low-level depression that lasts for a long time.

And man, because of who I was, I wasn’t even thinking about being a therapist right then. But the minute I saw that on my little insurance super bill, you can bet that I went and looked it up. So then it’s like okay, what is dysthymia?

And then that becomes part of who I am. So I would say to your listeners, let’s just be careful whenever, if we choose a therapist, and again, I’m obviously pro-therapy, I am one, be careful. Be careful with the labels people put on you, and they’re not trying to put a label on you. They’re just trying to access your insurance, so you might see something on a super bill. Even when we go to an MD, you have a broken leg or something, we tend to see those labels. And I would encourage people to be careful with those labels.

Krista: Thank you for that. It wouldn’t have been something that would have occurred to me. I do have lots of clients that do both and everyone’s story seems to be different. But I do have some clients who have done a lot of therapy and maybe they believe they’ve reached a limit, or sometimes they had a therapist that maybe they no longer relate to because they prefer to work with someone who has had a loss and they find it difficult to relate to someone who hasn’t, perhaps, even if they have a great knowledge of grief, they just don’t find them relatable. But what do you think about doing that in tandem, therapy and life coaching? What are your thoughts?

Sandy: Another great question. I think one of the things that I would consider in that it’s probably best for the client if they choose to have both a therapist and a life coach, to choose your topics for each, versus asking two different people the same kind of questions.

Because I think that could get pretty confusing. Not that you can’t do it, but that’s my first hit on that. And then I too have some clients who see some mental health professional in their own community, and let me circle back to that. The reason – when you’re choosing a therapist or if there’s a need for therapy, that’s why I think it’s important.

There are times when our mental health can become enough of a challenge that we might need local eyes and ears in our own community. So if we have someone who has eyes and ears on us in our community, in case things get worse for us and we need a referral, say to a psychiatrist for medication, that’s one of the benefits of having a therapist.

So that’s another reason to have a touch point in our own hometown. But the idea of both, again, usually when I have someone who has both, it’s because they have some sort of a medication.

Krista: Yeah, and I do find that pretty consistently too. There have been a couple of times where I have tried to walk the balance myself, wanting to still be true to what I teach, but also not wanting to be in opposition to what I hear the client telling me the therapist said. Trying to – how do we find the balance to do really what is in the best interest of the person who’s seeking help?

Sandy: That’s the great part. That’s the great answer there is in the end, except for the idea of safety, there is no wrong answer. So I’m big – I don’t know where you stand on this. I’m big on people’s own intuition. What do they think is best for them? And if they think it’s best for them, I believe that we get our best outcomes from what we believe in.

So if you believe in life coaching, because I have plenty of people who don’t want to see a therapist again. They also like that I have a therapeutic background, but there’s plenty of people that truly just want to see a life coach. They’ve had some bad experience or it hasn’t worked, that sort of thing. And I really do believe that it has so much to do with our beliefs.

And if I believe in life coaching, I think that there’s my answer. That’s where I’m going to find it. And if I think it’s a therapist and I need that idea, then I’m going to find it there. But there is no wrong answer.

Krista: Yeah, and taking that to the next logical level, if you’re getting something from a therapist and something from a life coach, I think we can still trust what works best for us, even if they seem to be in opposition. We can still discern what feels right to us.

Sandy: Absolutely. So one of the things you talked about a little bit at the beginning, so much of what a therapist will do is the empathy and if you need to tell your story 10 times, 20 times, which by the way, is not unusual or abnormal, it’s okay. And it’s okay to continue to process because of the way our brain unravels.

And then the coaching comes to a point where we might be moving a little bit faster or we might be a little bit more directive in how we speak to our clients, and that would be another place if you’re feeling as a client like you’re still in that place where you’re a puddle of tears and you really just want someone to listen and you don’t want a whole lot of feedback, you might end up with a therapist. And believe me, even when a therapist is being quiet, there’s a therapeutic process that that therapist is going through with you.

Krista: I definitely needed to tell it and tell it, and tell the details of it, which was not what I wanted to do with my family. But to have somebody just listen to me talk it through because it still didn’t even make sense in my brain. And there was a point where just finally, okay, this happened, and it makes sense, and it really is real. But it took telling it to get to that place.

Sandy: It does. So after you finish therapy and you had some time away from it, did you ever go back and see the therapist again?

Krista: Well actually, I kept going. We just decreased the frequency. So I don’t know, I think I told you this before that I’d actually enrolled in an MFT program.

Sandy: I do remember that.

Krista: So because my therapist – I love her so much and we still keep in touch. But she was like, yeah, come work for me. She’s got a phenomenally successful practice here in my area. She’s just amazing. And come work for me and then when I retire you can buy my practice. She had my whole future planned out.

And it seemed logical, but then coaching just – it seemed so much more powerful. But there was a period of time for me where definitely the coaching was overlapping, and the frequency of the therapy had just – maybe it was once a month. I don’t really remember, but I was doing both.

Sandy: Let me tell you why I asked that question. So again, there’s still a fair amount of stigma towards mental health in our country. And there are people who feel like only crazy people go to see therapists or certainly to see a psychiatrist or a psychologist.

And so sometimes what I see is that people will do say, six or 10 weeks of therapy and then they’re done because they feel better. And then six weeks will go by and then they don’t feel well again. And again, I would really encourage your listeners to not feel bad about that and to not place a stigma and self-judgment on that, that sometimes we do a little bit of therapy and we take a break, and we’re processing in those six weeks or however long it is between it.

And then all of a sudden, we do want to call a therapist again. And that can happen for life coaching too. You might have seen that too. I see that sometimes. People are done and then they circle back around. Let’s allow our brain to continue to process all of this and we’re doing so much processing, not just when we’re in a session, whether it’s therapy or coaching, but it’s all the time that we’re not. It’s the 23 hours a day that are left of the 24-hour day and the weeks and the months even. We’re still processing all that stuff we did either in coaching or therapy.

Krista: That’s such a good point. And I find that also, it’s like there’s a level of confidence that I see increase around a particular area that we’ve worked on. And so something feels very resolved maybe about that area, but then life happens, and another area flares up if you will, and it wasn’t challenging when we stopped coaching, but now it is.

And so maybe the confidence in dealing with that area, we can leverage some of it but it’s still more supportive and beneficial and I find that happens too. So have grace. Don’t expect yourself to just be sparkly, shiny, nothing ever is going to happen again, or put a label on asking for more help if and when you need it.

Sandy: Right. And also, for the people around you. That’s the other place we see that and I know you see it too because I’ve heard you speak to that is that people want us to be okay. People want us to be back to normal. And so you might feel some social pressure from family or friends or work because it’s uncomfortable.

You being not okay and uncomfortable yourself, you’re dealing with your own stuff, that’s hard for people around you. So you can get social pressure to just be okay. And don’t let people do that to you. It’s okay to not be okay. And it’s okay to take a really long time.

Krista: Yes. And frankly, our mental health is worth something. It’s okay. To me, I can’t ever imagine a time now that I understand the benefits of how much better my life is when I’m paying attention to my mental health, I would never not put my focus there and I wouldn’t apologize for it. But there was a time in my life where it was something that I thought there must be something wrong with me, or therapy ought to be something that I do temporarily to get me back to a place where – as though it’s not a worthwhile long-term investment in myself and in my own happiness and life satisfaction, which such an outdated way of looking at mental wellbeing.

Sandy: Exactly. And that’s why it’s so important that all of us are taking – let’s be a third-party observer to our own thoughts. I like to say to my people, be a fly on the wall. Just kind of watch the dynamics in your life and you’re one of the players in that dynamic. So as you’re just observing what’s happening around you, and making sure that we’re not letting other people’s thoughts impact our ability or willingness to do what’s best and right for us in terms of seeing a coach or a therapist.

Krista: Love it. Is there anything else that comes to mind when you think about someone who’s trying to figure out what their next best move is? Anything else you think they should be considering?

Sandy: Well, it’s the thing that I already said a few minutes ago is I really want people to feel free to shop. You don’t have to. If the first person you talk to you resonate with and it feels good and you’ve got a good sense of it, that’s fine. But if it doesn’t feel like a match, don’t be afraid to say yeah, I’m just not feeling it, and be willing to consider a different option.

Krista: Yeah, because they are the consumer, they are the customer. We forget that sometimes. We put ourselves in some sort of weird power dynamic.

Sandy: Right. And again, I’m not saying you have to. But I’m just saying if it doesn’t feel like a match, trust that and at least check out something else in the meantime.

Krista: I think the same is true once you’ve already established that relationship. Maybe it felt like a match at the beginning, but then as it’s evolved, it doesn’t feel like a match anymore, to not be afraid to step away.

Sandy: I think that’s huge.

Krista: Because sometimes people stay longer than is really what they want.

Sandy: Well, and I don’t know if this has ever happened, but I know it’s happened to me. I’ve seen a therapist that – it’s almost like a broken record. Again, I’m not in any way knocking therapy. This can happen to any professional in any field.

But either they’re distracted or they’re dealing with their own stuff, or you’ve just known each other for so long that it doesn’t feel like you’re doing anything anymore. Yeah, that’s probably time to check out something else.

Krista: Yeah. I don’t know if you see this in coaching too, or maybe coaching and therapy, but is that also that kind of tendency to want to please. And so I notice that every once in a while, I need to remind people that hey, you’re not here to impress me, you’re not here to make choices that I think are best. You’re here to figure out what’s best for you and to make choices that are best for you, and my opinion about your life is just not relevant.

So I just notice. And as a form – still, I won’t even say former. I still have my own people-pleasing things to work through. I notice that tendency in myself as well, so it’s easy to see.

Sandy: And I think that happens more – I’ve certainly been there too. When do we care what people think? The more we care about the person. So the longer the relationship is, if you’ve been in a long-standing therapeutic relationship with a therapist, you can get to that point. It could happen with a life coach too, where you get to that point where you do care what they think.

So if you’re editing yourself at all, whether it’s a therapist or with your life coach, then yeah, we need to really stop and look at that too. That’s a good point. That’s a good point on your part to say, it’s almost like you want to please the therapist or the coach and if you found yourself there, let’s either look at that in a coaching model or if it’s time to move on to someone else. I’ve had that where it’s almost like there’s such a friendship that develops in the therapeutic relationship that that’s probably not the therapist anymore.

Krista: Yeah. I would like people to remind themselves, whether it’s therapy or life coaching, that you are the customer. It is your money. Whether it’s insurance or cash, it’s your money. You’re there to get what you came for. Not to please the person you’ve hired to help you and to remind themselves of that.

Sandy: And then to the question you asked too, it’s like again, trusting whatever you choose is right for that moment and go through whatever process it is. How many weeks is your program?

Krista: Mine’s six months.

Sandy: Okay. So that’s a six-month process. Trust that process. Once you bail in, trust the process and know that you’ve made a good decision for yourself and really let it unfold and see where the stream takes you.

Krista: I like that. Where the stream takes you. I’m going to borrow that one. Anything else that you wish people knew about therapy and life coaching?

Sandy: Not really. I’ve given that question quite a bit of thought. I think most of all, I want people to trust the process.

Krista: So what’s next for you? What if people want to connect with you? Are you open to that?

Sandy: I am. So I do have my website, sandyarguello.com and I do…

Krista: I’ll put it in the show notes.

Sandy: Yeah, put it in the show notes. And I work primarily with people in relationships, which means that I work with anybody because we’re all in relationships.

Krista: Even with ourselves.

Sandy: Exactly. Whether you’re working individuals, couples, families, I work with work situations. I have sort of developed a niche for people that are in highly conflictual relationships. And I’ve just had some great luck with that, so people that find themselves in conflict often find their way to me.

Krista: Love it. Are you active on any particular social platform that you like to connect with or is the website the best?

Sandy: No, I should be doing more with my Instagram and I’m on Instagram, but just barely. I need to do more on Instagram. Actually, my Facebook is super active but it’s not a business page yet and I really just need to – I mean, I get hundreds of likes on almost everything I post, but it’s not my business page.

Krista: It’s the Sandy-isms.

Sandy: It’s the Sandy-isms. That’s right. Friends call it Sandy-isms.

Krista: Well, thank you so much for coming and sharing your wisdom with my listeners.

Sandy: It’s a high honor. I know that your people know you but honestly, and I tell you this all the time, you’re honestly one of the most amazing humans I know. And to tell your listeners, I’ll tell on you, almost every single email you send, I’m like, oh my god, that’s the best email I’ve ever read. You are the best copywriter I’ve ever known. You are so smart. You’re so empathetic. I am so grateful that you and I ended up in the same LCS class and the same little pod. And anyone who has an opportunity to work with you is extraordinarily fortunate.

Krista: Thank you, friend. I appreciate that. As I’ve told you many times, I’m going to put you in my pocket, carry you around for the moments where I’m doubting myself.

Sandy: You’re an amazing coach. You’re an amazing coach and an amazing human.

Krista: Thank you. I love you.

Sandy: Thank you. I love you too.

Krista: Alright take care, I’ll talk to you soon.

Sandy: Thank you so much.

Krista: Okay, bye.

Sandy: Bye.

If you like what you’ve been hearing on this podcast and want to create a future you can truly get excited about, even after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to join my Mom Goes On coaching program. It’s small group coaching just for widowed moms like you where I’ll help you figure out what’s holding you back and give you the tools and support you need so you can move forward with confidence.

Please don’t settle for a new normal that’s less than what you deserve. Go to coachingwithkrista.com and click Work With Me for details and next steps. I can’t wait to meet you.

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About your coach

I created a new life using small, manageable steps and techniques that made sense. The changes I experienced were so profound I became a Master Certified Life Coach and created a group coaching program for widows like us called Mom Goes On. It’s now my mission to show widowed moms exactly how to do what I’ve done and create a future they can look forward to.

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