How to Become the Best Trauma Coach? [2022 Edition]

 Sai Blackbyrn/ 2nd January 2022

Trauma is any profoundly distressing or disturbing event that affects one on an emotional level. It can leave one very confused, lost, angry, or hurt. People who have to deal with trauma seldom experience a vast change in their personalities. Their behavior may change abruptly. They may find themselves very disconnected from the rest of the world.

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Often people who experience trauma are unable to get back to their original lives. They feel as if their lives are ruined. Some even lose hope to a great extent which can lead then to take serious steps like suicide. Some further destroy their lives by becoming drug-addict or engaging in other wrong practices.

Of course, there are therapists and counselors that pay a great role in the recovery of therapeutic patients. But, the recovery demands a more comprehensive and gradual approach. An approach that not only deals with the past but makes the person confident of the future. This is where trauma coaching protocols comes into the picture.

Trauma coaches help clients to deal with different types of trauma. They guide on how to heal their wounds and return back to their original lives. They inject hope in the clients and discover ways to make the clients enjoy their present.

Have you experienced trauma in your own life?

Do you want to help others with your success story?

Do you hear from friends and family that you can become a good trauma coach?

Is that a YES? Great, then!

In this article, we are going to cover all that you must know to become a trauma coach. By the end, you will have all the stuff ready that you need to kick-start a phenomenal trauma coaching business. Before we dive in, let’s first understand more about trauma coaching.

What is Trauma Coaching?

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Trauma coaching involves coaching traumatized clients that had a serious unfortunate event.

Such an event can be anything. A Client might consider himself responsible for the death of a close one. A very severe accident which had deeply affected someone. Big loss in a business that destroyed someone’s entire life. Getting cheated by a loved one etc.

Trauma coaching is a sensitive approach to deal with the anxiety and fear with the clients. With coaching tools and strategies, trauma coaches help the clients to overcome the pathetic state.

Trauma Coaching vs Therapy

As an aspiring trauma coach, you must know the difference between Trauma coaching and therapy.

People experience trauma that varies in depth. Some people develop mental illness. This prevents them from either moving forward or traveling back. They seem to be stuck. Sometimes, this illness becomes so severe that the patients forget who they are and completely lose their identity and purpose. Therapists are best suited for those people who are at this stage of their lives.

There is this other category of traumatic people who either lack direction or are confused about which path to choose. Such people might have a mental illness in the past or maybe in present but it is not so severe that it prevents them from moving freely. Coaching through one-to-one interactions are perfect for such people while maintaining ethical standards.

Therapeutics are like surgeons. They are responsible for the mental health and well-being. Coaches, on the other hand, are ready with their first aid kit and skills but they are not physicians.

A trauma coach’s job includes brainstorming with the clients, providing them with the information, and examining potential decisions. Therapists may sometimes need to intervene to a deeper level to direct care. A coach never takes that much control of the client’s life. Trauma coaches guide and encourage the clients but they never command direction.

Many trauma clients sometimes need to switch from therapy to coaching and vice versa. Individuals who have gotten over their mental illness can benefit tremendously from trauma coaching. Individuals will have to be transferred to a therapist if they experience a mental crisis.

A good trauma coach will always know when to refer the individual to a therapist.

Who is a Trauma Coach?

Trauma coaches have a good understanding of how trauma works and affects. This understanding may not be as deep as that of the therapists but it is enough to bring a transformation in the traumatic clients.

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Trauma coaches understand the situations that ultimately lead to producing the response of the clients. They are aware of the kind of emotions that play in the background. From their experience, they can figure out what level of support is needed and in which all areas.

They understand how important it is to provide a safe environment for the clients. They know how crucial it is to maintain boundaries and confidentiality. They allow individuals to explore their situations and personalities by providing a comforting space. Such coaches are deeply sensitive to the clients and understand how to make the clients speak their heart out loud.

Trauma coaches are able to see the signs and the symptoms that may be a part of the internal trauma system. Through creative approaches and skills, they let the clients explore the links between the past and the present. They connect the clients strongly with their present and future. They make the clients reflect on what actions in the present will be fruitful for their well-being.

With a sensitive and gradual approach, trauma coaches guide the clients on the right path. Such coaches act as a solid support system. They coach the clients to overcome the past with coaching strategies and a caring style and approach.

Trauma coaches are responsible for bringing the lives of many distressed souls back on track. Often such coaches give the traumatic clients a reason to live and cherish what they have.

What Traits You Must Have for Becoming a Trauma Coach?

If you want to become a trauma coach you must have few traits in your personality. Let’s have a look at them.

An open-mind

Narrow-mindedness will kill the trauma coaching process. A trauma coach must have an open mind. It is easy to judge a situation or make presumptions, what’s difficult is to see the situation from various angles.

Expect unpredictability

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Trauma coaches deal with clients that are experiencing abrupt changes in their situation and behavior. Their minds and hearts aren’t stable. For some time you may feel that the client is recovering but soon you will find just the opposite. Being comfortable with unpredictability and coping up with the same is extremely important for a trauma coach.

Mental strength

If you do not prefer to think, talk, or hear about unpleasant things then this is not the right job for you. It is guaranteed that you will encounter some tragic and horrible stories from the survivors that you are working with.

Understanding of Trauma

Trauma is different from pain. Pain may affect someone for some time but trauma may have everlasting negative effects. Trauma is complex. It is complicated. So, you must have a clear understanding of trauma.

Compassion and Empathy

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These are the two traits that are a must even if not mentioned explicitly. If you don’t have these you will never be able to connect and help the survivors.

Collaborative and holistic attitude

Trauma coaches work with clients to develop an action plan that may fulfill their needs. If you are more of a controlling personality and neglect healthy collaboration you may even experience the client’s progress slowing down.

Ability to visualize the future recovery

One of the most important abilities of a trauma coach is to see the future recovery of the survivors. They help the clients see all the possibilities for their recovery. This helps the coaches to provide the clients with the resources, support, and homework they need to reach there.

What Are the Main Sources of Trauma?

There are a few main sources of trauma that a trauma coach must know. Some of these sources are physically violent others are psychological. Most trauma clients will be dealing with one of them.

  • Rape
  • Domestic violence
  • A serious act of violence
  • Natural disasters
  • Death of a loved one
  • Serious heartbreak
  • Illness or injury

It is not always the case that trauma is caused by being present at a trauma-inducing event. Many people sustain trauma after witnessing it from a distance.

Young children are the most vulnerable to trauma. They should always be psychologically examined after any such event occurs to ensure their emotional stability.

Signs That a Person is Suffering From Trauma

The first step for you as a trauma coach is to be able to identify the signs of trauma. Often individuals don’t realize that they are suffering from trauma. Nor their family recognizes that. It is a difficult task for the trauma coach to convince the need for trauma coaching. Once you know the signs of trauma thoroughly it will help you to identify the level of seriousness as well as make you confident to crack your ideal clients.

Emotional Symptoms

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A traumatic person often appears shaken and disoriented. They would not respond to a conversation like they normally and will often appear not to present even while speaking. One of the most noticeable trauma symptoms is anxiety. Anxiety can later manifest in problems like mood swings, irritability, poor concentration, etc.

Other emotional symptoms include anger, sadness, and emotional outbursts. Often the victims of trauma direct the extreme emotions that they face towards their family and friends. This makes it difficult for them to handle the person.

Sometimes even close friends and families are unable to notice signs of trauma. So, it is important to talk to someone after the trauma event even when they show no signs of disturbances. Trauma can occur days, months, and even years after the trauma event.

Physical Symptoms

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Trauma can manifest physically too. Some physical signs of trauma include paleness, lethargy, fatigue, and a racing heartbeat. The victim may face anxiety and panic attacks which may go out of control in certain circumstances. The physical symptoms of trauma can be alarming and proper care has to be taken to manage the stress levels after the trauma event.

How to Become the Best Trauma Coach?

Educate yourself

The first step to begin as a trauma coach is to learn about the intricacies of trauma. Learn about the basics. Understand why do the nervous system gets stuck. Know more about the different types and aspects of trauma. Learn the different ways to combat trauma.

Recognize trauma

A trauma coach must be able to track the client’s nervous system. This can be done with a session or with multiple sessions. An important step while recognizing trauma is to keep in mind the car analogy; whether someone’s foot is on the accelerator i.e. exhibiting Hyperarousal or on the break i.e. exhibiting Hypoarousal. Hyperarousal means agitation whereas Hypoarousal means dissociation.

The coaches should be able to figure out whether they are able to support the clients. If they can then they should consider what should be done to get the person back to their comfort zone. Breathing and various somatic exercises can be extremely beneficial here. At the same time, the trauma coach must ensure to maintain safety and stability. Also, this must include the continuous processing of trauma memories.

A very important point to keep in mind while dealing with traumatic clients is that motivating to feel more is not always good. The coach should know when to give the clients a break. The coach must know when to refer the client to therapists if the need demands.

Relate to Trauma

Trauma is the most intense form of stress. It makes one feel helpless and profoundly unsafe. A trauma coach must be able to relate to the client’s trauma easily. This not only involves relating to the event but also the impact that the event caused to the nervous system. Trauma coaches must be dynamic in their coaching process so that they can relate to each and every aspect of the client’s trauma. At the same time, such coaches should know their edge of competence so that they can refer the clients out when need demands.

Make the coaching process trauma-sensitive

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Trauma coaches must have a trauma-sensitive coaching process. Such a process includes:

  • Realizing the impact of trauma (in-depth)
  • Recognizing the symptoms of trauma
  • Responding patiently and effectively
  • Taking steps to prevent re-traumatization

Trauma coaches should have a coaching process that ensures that the clients are not getting harm. To this, the coaches must be able to recognize and respond well to trauma.

Recognizing trauma means knowing when you are dealing with a dysregulated nervous system. Then, you should identify whether your coaching process is leaving it regulated or more dysregulated.

Conduct effective coaching sessions

It is important to conduct effective coaching sessions to connect with clients. Conducting effective coaching sessions begins with setting up the right and comfortable environment. You should have a strong coaching questionnaire to understand the client’s situation well.

In the first few sessions, it is very likely that traumatic clients will not communicate. Don’t worry, once the clients get comfortable and can relate toy our coaching approach they will start opening up. What is important is that you communicate with the clients in a humble and caring way. Remember that pulling the clients too much out of their comfort zone is always not correct.

Also, too many followups and homework can irritate clients. So, take care that your coaching sessions are aligned with the comfortability of the clients.

Identify undiagnosed trauma

Sometimes clients follow everything that the trauma coaches tell them to. Still, they fail and results of the trauma coaching seem not to be that effective. The clients’ conditions may even turn worse than before. One of the biggest reasons for this is when the coaches are unable to diagnose trauma.

Often it may appear to the coach that things are going well and suddenly they may realize that the results are unexpected (in a negative sense).

So, it becomes important for a trauma coach to identify the signs of undiagnosed trauma. Some of them include:

The clients always move in the direction of stuckness

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No matter how positive the clients try to keep themselves, they face some or the other resistance. They face trouble with attention and focus.

The clients eat well and are active, still fatigued

As a trauma coach, you will see that your clients are sometimes eating well and are highly active. They are taking all measures to feel energetic. Still, in the end, they experience overwhelming fatigue and sometimes great weight loss/gain.

Fear grips the clients

Often the traumatic clients are gripped in fear and anxiety when there is no reason to be afraid of. It may appear to the trauma coach that the clients have come out of their fear but this does not happen. Sometimes a past even may seem to recreate in front of them again and again. They may experience the same emotions that they felt then and even worse.

They become a magnet for all the wrong relationships

A trauma coach may try hard to build healthy boundaries around the clients but often the opposite happens. Such clients constantly attract all the wrong and end up being a victim of toxic people and situations.

Dive into your own trauma healing

Often when coaches are able to see their own life from a biological perspective they develop stronger intuition and lens to see the trauma stored in others. For healing others, it is important that you start by healing yourself. If you do not do this you will not be able to see it in others and they’ll stay stuck.

Make others dive deep and heal deep

Often the clients don’t have a supportive family or friends. Even if they have it becomes difficult for family/friends to bring any change in the state of traumatic individuals. It is the responsibility of the trauma coaches to be clients’ guiding light and carry out family therapy.

Such coaches must do as much as possible so that they can find freedom. Entering into this level of healing is not easy. Tapping into body sensations and emotions may feel quite uncomfortable for your clients initially. But, as time progress and they see the ray of hope, the will to transform will eventually get stronger.

How much Does a Trauma Coach Charge?

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Most trauma coaches charge between $25 – $75 an hour. Some coaches also have fixed packages rather than an hourly model. Much of what you earn as a trauma coach will depend on some of the factors including:

  • Experience and coaching skills of the coach
  • Market trends of the region
  • Affordability ranges of the target audience
  • The way in which the coach sets the pricing and packaging of the coaching services

Apart from one-to-one coaching sessions, there are other ways through which a trauma coach can earn. These include:

  • Teaching trauma-related courses to both survivors and helping professionals (online or offline)
  • Holding webinars for helpers and families of trauma victims
  • Conducting workshops and creating awareness about trauma
  • Offering additional resources – e-books, video courses, etc.
  • Writing
  • Retreats for trauma survivors

What Certifications Do You Need to Become a Trauma Coach?

You can go for a coaching certification course after completing an ICF recognized accredited coaching program. Trauma-Informed Coaching Certification (TICC) is one such coaching certification program.

Coaching certifications are not always a necessity. Since the US coaching industry lacks regulation, getting certified is not mandatory. More than advanced certification, it is the coaching skills, process, and testimonies of the coach which are important.

However, some clients prefer certified coaches. In this case, it is always good to get certified from one of the top institutes of coaching certifications.

I hope this article added to your existing knowledge of a trauma coach.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Much Do Trauma Recovery Coaches Make?

The trauma recovery coaching industry is an ever-changing one, with new certifications and training popping up every day. There’s no shortage of opportunities for you to earn money as a coach! Certified trauma recovery coaches usually charge between $25 -$150 for an hour.

Can Life Coaches Work With Trauma?

Some life coaches use trauma-informed practice, but others don’t. There are many practitioners who work with the body and mind with basic coaching skills to heal it on all levels. There are several who do not use trauma-informed practices, which can make it difficult for clients with past abuse or other kinds of traumatic experiences.

What Is Trauma Recovery?

The guiding principles of trauma recovery are restoration and empowerment. It is important for people who have been through traumatic events to rebuild their sense of safety in order to move forward with life again. It doesn’t always mean they’ll be completely free from post-trauma effects and become trauma survivors. Also, the recovery process is gradual in some cases.

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