Updated: May 2
I have had some long conversations about the difference between therapy & coaching. So many people are against coaches helping trauma survivors because we have not had the training that therapists have (there are therapists & counselors who are coaches). There are also untrained coaches out there attempting to do therapy which is completely unacceptable. I hope this post will clear up misconceptions about the roles of these professions from my perspective & give an idea of exactly what I do as a trauma recovery coach.
What is Therapy?
Therapy is focused on processing traumatic memories & experiences, establishing safety for clients who are in active addiction, active suicidal ideation, abusive situations, activated in there trauma, mental health disorders etc. It focuses on diagnosis of mental health conditions, referral to psychiatrists or medical doctors for medication, etc. & a lot more. Therapists are the ones who help you process your trauma. This can come in many different forms such as EMDR, CBT, Brain spotting, Talk Therapy, Play Therapy, Internal Family Systems, Parts work, & the list goes on & on. They take you into your memories to process them, help you find cognitive distortions, & repair your brain & inner landscape. Yes, a therapist can do coaching work if they so choose.
What is Coaching?
Coaching is designed to support people in their goals toward recovery, not come up with a treatment plan. We do not diagnose mental health conditions or treat trauma, nor do we make recommendations about medications. We are best suited for people who are in therapy or have had therapy & want to continue their work on themselves. We will touch on your past because it is what affects your present & will shape your future. If you are activated in your trauma or need diagnosis & medication, it's best to work with a therapist, not a coach. A coach cannot do therapy. If you would like to experience coaching firsthand please book a FREE clarity call and I'd be happy to show you what I offer.
WARNING: IT IS DANGEROUS FOR ANYONE TO TRY TO PROCESS REPRESSED MEMORIES WHO IS NOT A THERAPIST, PSYCHIATRIST, OR PSYCHOLOGIST WHO HAS BEEN TRAINED. IT IS ALSO UNETHICAL TO DO SO. YOU RISK HARMING SOMEONE IF YOU DO SO. THIS IS THE REASON THAT COACHES DO NOT DO THIS TYPE OF WORK. IT TAKES YEARS OF TRAINING FOR THESE PROFESSIONALS TO DO THIS. DO NOT PLAY WITH PEOPLE'S LIVES, REFER THEM TO A THERAPIST FOR THAT TYPE OF WORK. DO NOT USE THIS POST AS A MEANS TO BYPASS THE HARM THAT CAN BE DONE.
To coaches who want to step into the realm of trauma recovery.
Contrary to popular belief , if you are coaching a trauma survivor(even unknowingly), you are going to have to deal with their trauma. Trauma is not somehow magically separated from an individual just because you tell them you aren't a therapist. Trauma impacts EVERY facet of the human organism so even if you tell yourself that you are not going to touch on a person's trauma, you will, it's impossible not to. If you are working with a person who is stuck in a rut & can't get out no matter how many coaching tools you throw at them, chances are they are probably traumatized. Refer them to a professional who can help them. If they are working with a therapist, ask them to let their therapist know & become a part of the client's recovery team. If the therapist is unwilling to work with you then bow out gracefully.
You have to be skillful in recognizing that coaching is not one size fits all & more people are traumatized than you know. Don't just label clients as lazy because they struggle. I would even venture to say that you are the lazy one, if you don't do the work with them to uncover why they aren't meeting their goals. Most trauma survivors have guilt, anxiety, & shame around not meeting goals. Work with them to uncover the reasons or refer them to me. Referring them to therapy is also support, do so when needed. Also do your work to become trauma informed. SAMSHA.org is an excellent resource. I received my credentials through The International Association of Trauma Recovery Coaches & they are an excellent credentialing body for those who are serious about helping survivors.
To survivors looking for support.
If you go to a coach & they tell you that they only work on setting goals & are only results oriented, I'd advise you to run. If they do not make room for you to play an active role in your recovery find someone else to work with. It is the same with therapists. You have been disempowered in so many ways, you don't need another person acting as if you aren't an incredibly resilient person who needs the proper support to stand in your power. I have seen so many survivors who are afraid to tell therapists & other people that they aren't supporting them in the way that they need. You are paying money to someone who is supposed to help you. If they aren't helping you tell them, allow them the opportunity to adjust, & if they don't, find another professional to work with. This is all about your recovery, not people pleasing.
You all know the work I do. I am here to support you. I am also here to help professionals become trauma informed. I teach classes to help people understand what is necessary to help those who need it. Contact me to set up a class for your team or yourself. Survivors please contact me when you are ready to start this work. I am here to serve you. I hope this post clears things up so that people aren't misinformed or afraid. If you want to help, do the work to be available to help.