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Therapist vs. Dating Coach...What's the Difference?

By Carly Sackellares, MSW

As both a psychotherapist and dating coach, I often receive questions from clients about which path they should consider when seeking help. Though I offer both services, there are some differences in how I approach the care of my therapy clients versus the coaching of my online dating clients.

Like in the music industry, there are managers and agents who help their talent in different ways. In the mental health space, the therapist is the manager, and the dating coach is the agent.

Like a manager who attends to many aspects of their clients’ well-being, I help my therapy clients in their wrestling with all kinds of life’s struggles. In my role as a dating coach, I help clients use online dating to improve their ability to have healthy romantic relationships. Staying with our analogy, this relates to how agents focus on helping their clients find the gigs that offer the opportunity for their style to shine.

Hopefully, this analogy has begun to provide some clarity and guidance. If you feel the need for more, I’ve broken down some differences below.


  • MORE HOLISTIC CARE While romantic relationships are a topic of conversation within therapy, the personal transformation that occurs within sessions can relate to many topics: work, school, addiction, life transitions, etc.

  • REQUIRES SCHOOLING AND A DEGREE Becoming a psychotherapist involves the minimum requirement of a Master’s degree in a related field. Personally, I chose to pursue my Master of Social Work.

  • GEOGRAPHICAL LIMITATIONS OF TREATMENT Therapists may only treat clients who live within the states in which they are licensed or pre-licensed.



  • FOCUSED ON ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS Dating coaches focus specifically on improving clients’ relationship skills.

  • DOES NOT REQUIRE SPECIFIC QUALIFICATIONS While it is preferable that dating coaches have some experience or schooling in a mental health field, this is not required. I have experience, schooling and Chi for Two embodiment coach training that aids me in my specific style of mindful online dating coaching.

  • CAN WORK WITH ANYONE, WORLDWIDE Coaches have the freedom to work with clients all over the world. With virtual platforms, I have been able to work with clients across the U.S. and other countries.

In both roles, I incorporate my Chi for Two embodiment coach training because Chi for Two is supported by nervous system science that helps us understand trauma patterning.

So, which route is right for you? Reach out for a free 15-minute consultation at or (678) 242-9519.

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