Have you heard of a happiness coach, aka a life coach, and weren’t quite sure of what that was?

Or, perhaps you’re considering therapy but wanted to know more about the differences between a therapist and a life coach?

Well, you’re in the right place. We’ll explore the distinctions between the two and hear from a certified happiness/positive intelligence coach.

Let’s start by defining the role of each of these mental health professionals.

Life/Happiness Coach

A life coach, also known as a happiness coach, is a “professional that provides the drive and guidance their clients need to improve their careers, relationships, and lives.” Life coaches are meant to inspire and encourage people to reach their goals while also keeping track of their progress.

“If you need support, encouragement, motivation, or accountability to help achieve the goals you want for yourself but feel like you don’t have the tools to do so on your own, that’s when you need a life coach,” Lisa Lopez, Certified Happiness Coach

Certified happiness coach Lisa Lopez believes that life coaching can help change people’s lives for the better. For the past seven years, she has supported her client’s using methodologies based on the science of happiness and positive intelligence.

There are several types of happiness coaches, depending on the need. Some of the most common are:

  • Relationship & family coach
  • Career coach
  • Finance coach
  • Mental health coach
  • Health & wellness coach
  • Spiritual coach

Anyone can consider themselves a life coach, as it doesn’t require any formal education for the title. For instance, you may have a friend that everyone goes to for support and advice. Well, that friend could potentially call themselves a life coach.

However, when searching for a life coach, it’s best to do some research first and find a certified health professional that can help guide you.

There are a few ways you can gain accreditation as a life coach. You can start by taking a course in coaching or enrolling in a certified coaching program, such as the International Coaching Federation.

Happiness coaches typically charge an hourly rate based on session type and can make between $60k-$500k annually, depending on location and experience.


A therapist is “a professional that is trained to provide treatment and rehabilitation.” There are many types of therapists, all of which need a license to practice. Some of the different types of therapists include:

  • Addiction therapists
  • Marriage & family therapists
  • Child therapists
  • Psychotherapists
  • Massage therapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Physical therapists
  • Yoga therapists

To become a therapist, you need a master’s degree in psychology. It’s also helpful if you have an undergraduate background in psychology, biochemistry, or sociology. Their salary can range from 62k-200k depending on the geographical location.

Since COVID, the demand for mental health and wellness professionals has significantly increased. As a result, often therapists and life coaches will partner up to support clients in need.

“A client will see a therapist to deal with those deeper issues, and often a therapist will partner with a coach to help them in between sessions. Lisa Lopez, Certified Happiness Coach


Anyone that has a desire and passion for helping others can become a life coach. Essentially, life coaches provide guidance and keep you focused on your goals.  The same is true for a therapist; however, one must be willing to go through an extensive educational process to achieve a professional title.

The role of each wellness professional is to help heal their clients. When choosing which mental health professional is best for you, remember to do your research and learn about the different types of services that will be most suitable for your needs.

If you’re a wellness coach looking to expand your reach, check out Vagaro and see how we can help. And if you would like to learn more from Coach Lisa, you can find her @livehappylifecoaching or at livehappycoaching.com.