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  • Writer's pictureJen Meller

What is Trauma Recovery Coaching?

Takeaway: Trauma can leave behind an imprint that profoundly shapes the lives of everyone it touches. In trauma recovery, we gradually work to rebuild the security and trust that was broken with ourselves and others. Working with a trauma coach can help you find peace, healing, and hope for the future.

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How do I know if I need trauma recovery coaching?

You've experienced something extremely difficult that has impacted the way you now move through life. You know the trauma is there, but you don't know how to live with it, let alone thrive in life with it.

Trauma looks different for everyone, but that doesn't mean healing isn't possible. It just takes time, patience, and someone to help you navigate through it.

Trauma coaching can help you reconnect with yourself and live a life full of meaning and purpose.

Whether you're dealing with past trauma (such as childhood trauma) or something more recent, a trauma recovery coach helps you with the healing process.

You can work with a trauma recovery coach to gently explore your experience, trauma responses, and goals. Recovery doesn't happen overnight, but true transformation is possible. I've experienced it myself, and I've witnessed it in my work as a trauma coach. I know it can happen for you, too.

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Who are trauma recovery coaches for?

Coaching can help trauma survivors of all backgrounds. Whether you're healing from developmental trauma, emotional abuse, or an experience of domestic violence as an adult, trauma recovery coaching can help.

Some people may not be aware that they have experienced trauma. If this is the case for you, consider these signs that you might benefit from trauma coaching.

You constantly feel in a state of fight-or-flight.

Your fight, flight, freeze responses are constantly engaged. You never feel in a state of rest. This is common for trauma survivors-especially for those of us who have experienced complex trauma. With support, you can learn how to regulate your nervous system and feel safe in your body again.

You feel ashamed or burdened by your past.

There’s a weight that you’ve been carrying for far too long and you feel trapped by it. No matter what you try, you can’t seem to move on. You feel like you should be over your childhood trauma by now, but it still has a significant impact on your day to day life.

You’re hurting and you can’t understand why.

Life doesn’t look like you had expected it. You feel depressed, anxious, or lost. You want to find happiness, but you don’t know where to start. The pain of trauma can run deep, but one to one coaching can give you the time and space you need to heal from these wounds.

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What can I expect from working with a trauma recovery coach?

All trauma recovery coaches have a unique approach dependent on their personal experience and training. However, many take an individualized approach to trauma recovery coaching. They won't push you to do what worked for them-this is about your journey, and it needs to be customized to your needs and goals.

Trauma recovery coaches help you identify what's coming up for you and find the strategies that will help you heal. They offer gentle guidance and trusted support, but you'll be in control every step of the process.

Most coaches draw from a number of different coaching strategies and mental health theories in their work. Here are some examples of approaches that trauma recovery coaches may use:

  • Internal Family Systems (IFS)

  • Somatic Experiencing (SE)

  • Hakomi Somatic Psychotherapy

  • Polyvagal Theory

  • Healing Shame

  • Dynamic Attachment Re-patterning experience (DARE)

  • Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

  • Trauma Recovery Coaching

No matter which approaches your trauma recovery coach uses, they should focus on providing trauma informed care.

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What is the trauma recovery coaching process like?

Healing and growth is a journey, not a destination. Trauma recovery coaches can help you on that journey-whatever it looks like for you. While each coach may take a slightly different approach, this is a general outline of what to expect from the process.

1. Share

You’ll have the opportunity to share your story with your coach. You'll tell them about your goals and desired outcome. Trauma has likely taken a lot from you, but it is possible to rekindle hope for the future. Trauma recovery coaching can help you find it.

2. Identify

You and your coach will clearly identify the areas of your life where things feel challenging, the history behind it, and why it’s coming up for you in this moment. Your trauma coaching sessions should act as a safe space for you to feel heard and supported.

3. Deepen

Using modalities that resonate best with you, you and your coach will begin the work of going deeper to process the things that need attention. Don't worry if you're unsure which methods you want your coach to use. They'll provide education on all of the terms and methods so you can make an informed choice.

4. Grow

You’ll walk away with a greater sense of self-awareness so that you can continue to process and grow in your journey toward wholeness. Trauma recovery coaching can't change the fact that a traumatic event happened, but it can empower you to take charge of your future.

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FAQs about trauma recovery coaching

Whether you're new to the recovery process or have worked with trauma coaches before, it's okay to have more questions. Here are some of the most common ones.

How do I know if I have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

Trauma recovery coaches don't diagnose mental illness such as PTSD. Coaches believe that your experience is valid, regardless of whether or not you have a diagnosis.

Each person's trauma is different, so your sessions will be tailored to what you're going through-not a standardized definition of what trauma is "supposed" to look like.

With that being said, trauma survivors may experience common symptoms or feelings. Here are just a few:

  • Trauma memories or flashbacks

  • Nightmares

  • Anxiety or feeling on edge

  • Constantly worrying that something bad is going to happen

  • Panic attacks

  • Self loathing

  • Blaming yourself for your trauma

  • Withdrawing from family and friends

  • Substance use

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Feeling like the world is an unsafe place

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What's the difference between trauma recovery coaching and therapy?

Talk therapy and trauma recovery coaching are both valuable services. While there are some similarities between the two, they are different. Mental health professionals must meet certain education and professional requirements. Licensing boards and insurance companies may dictate who they can work with, where they can work with people, and for how long.

Trauma coaches have more flexibility. They can find a recovery process that works for you-no matter what you're going through or where you're located. We can also use the power of lived experience in our work in a way that therapists may not.

There are different kinds of trauma coaches. All have different backgrounds, training, and experience.

For example, a Certified Trauma Recovery Coach completes a course through the International Association of Trauma Recovery Coaching (IACOTC).

In my experience as a trauma coach, I've found it most beneficial to receive additional training in a number of different approaches so I can best serve each client's unique needs. Beyond basic coaching skills, I have studied many different mind-body approaches, therapeutic methods, and more.

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Working with a trauma informed coach can help you find a path forward

As a trauma survivor myself, I have an intimate understanding of the pain, shame, and other difficult emotions that can come from our life experiences. Those feelings (and the behaviors that follow them) can have powerful ripple effects on our self-image, relationships, and decisions.

Through my own healing journey, I discovered the important role that the body plays in trauma recovery. After all, our bodies have been with us through every experience we've had. However, as trauma survivors, we often feel disconnected from or betrayed by our bodies.

I experienced the power of re-establishing the mind-body connection firsthand. Since then, I've been passionate about helping other survivors do the same. Healing is possible-and you shouldn't have to do it alone.

The road to trauma recovery is often lifelong. I believe this to be a beautiful thing. Your healing can grow and evolve with you as you inevitably change and learn more about your values, desires, and goals.

If you're ready to take charge of your own life, I'd be honored to walk alongside you. Reach out today to start the process by scheduling a few. I look forward to hearing your story and exploring how we can work together.


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