Betty W. Phillips, Ph.D., Psychology
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Life problems or changes (such as age-related issues, relationship or marital problems, parenting/family changes, retirement, health issues, job change, divorce, grief) can result in a need for either counseling or coaching services. People seeking therapy will have diagnosable symptoms such as stress, anxiety or depression and typically want to focus on alleviating their symptoms and restoring balance and their lives. While individuals seeking coaching may also experienced tension or even distress, their focus is on actively changing their life patterns by visualizing dreams and implementing goals to create a happier and more satisfying life for themselves.

A life or personal coach is an expert in helping people bring about desired life changes, whether clients are "stuck" in a life problem or feel a desire to improve the quality of their future, marriage, career, health or the overall quality of their life. The coaching process is an individualized service where you and the coach together look at your goals and dreams, design an action plan to accomplish the desired changes, then provide feedback and support as the changes are implemented. The hours and service plans are flexible, not based on insurance requirements, diagnosis or weekly 50 minutes sessions. The first session is often a two to three hour planning session, and follow up can be scheduled in shorter time periods either face-to-face or by phone. Fees are similar to counseling fees but are not reimbursed by insurance.

Many personal coaches work entirely by telephone, and clients are scheduled on a national basis. Dr. Phillips philosophy and approach to life coaching includes personal face-to-face interaction with some follow-up by e-mail or telephone. Dr. Phillips believes in the value of taking time apart from normal life circumstances and routines to sit down in an attractive and comfortable environment without distractions in order to focus more completely on desired life improvements.


After years of experience as a child, adolescent and family therapist, Dr. Phillips is concentrating upon applying her experience and expertise in assisting and advising parents. Parents are the most important adults in their children's lives, and strategic advice can often be the most direct and practical intervention in helping children cope with problems.

While psychological treatment of children and teens is often effective, the play therapy or counseling can be a lengthy and expensive process. Children often do not understand about therapy and are not motivated to change their behavior. They like the play and may become attached to the play therapist, often deriving satisfaction from the process and improving self-esteem, but rarely do they develop lasting insight into their problems. Adolescents often resist therapy with a "shrink" (as they see it), preferring instead to seek advice from their friends. A good therapist will usually be able to engage the teen to bring about needed improvement but only if the teen is motivated to do so.

Dr. Phillips experience has been that most of the improvement derived from child and adolescent therapy is in consultation with the parents who are able to better understand their children's needs and problems, then learn and implement effective parenting strategies to bring about the desired changes. Over time she has developed effective techniques to work with parents directly to help them change parenting to modify their children's behavior. This process may include some evaluation sessions with the children or adolescents or entire family as well as information-gathering from teachers and school counselors, but the emphasis is on supporting the parents as the most important and effective change agents in the lives of their children. At times the parents marriage will be strained because of the family turmoil created in dealing with their children's problems, and Dr. Phillips can also intervene to help the parents work together as a problem-solving team instead of venting stress upon each other.

Mental health insurance is usually available to pay for these services as they are cost-effective interventions in treating either diagnosable problems in the children and teenagers or diagnosable stress and anxiety in the parents.