About Trauma-Informed Coaching (TIC)
What is trauma?
“Trauma is described in the dictionary as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. Trauma experiences are negative, distressing, emotionally intense and can undermine a person's ability to cope with everyday life. It can leave them feeling helpless, and trapped, vulnerable, powerless, terrorized, isolated only. Trauma is categorized into three different types:
- Acute - from a single incident
- Chronic - repeated and prolonged
- Complex - exposure to varied and multiple traumatic events, often of an invasive, interpersonal nature” (Source – www.movingthehuman spirit.com)
Not everyone will experience trauma in the same way, or even in response to the same circumstances. Our capacity to take action in those moments, the nature of our upbringing in terms of developing personal resilience, and our belief systems can influence whether or not we suffer from trauma.
Trauma-informed Coaching: what it is not
Trauma-informed coaching is not therapy, nor is it a substitute for therapy (ideally, you have sought support already and have therapeutic resources on which you can rely). We don't talk about your traumatic experiences unless they come up in the conversation in relation to your career or leadership challenges and objectives.
Even then, your trauma itself is less relevant than the impact it may be having on your ability to gain clarity, develop confidence, trust in your own wisdom, and experiment with new skills and perspectives. Those impacts are what a trauma-informed coach is listening for, in addition to strengths, values, struggles, obstacles, limiting beliefs, dreams and desires. By reflecting these back for you to consider, you are better able to separate out what's happening in the present from what happened in the past and move forward with a greater sense of perspective.
Trauma-informed Coaching: what it is
Trauma-informed coaching is about engaging with clients in coaching with the benefit of bringing a trauma lens to the conversation. A trauma-informed coach has typically done a lot of their own self work around trauma, in addition to learning about trauma in professional settings. This can enable them to create a safe, non-judgmental, open space for a client to truly be themselves beyond shame and self-doubt.
Identifying as a "trauma survivor" is not important. If you suspect that some negative aspect of your life experience is having an adverse effect on your ability to move forward in your career and/or leadership in the present, and you want to be able to speak freely in a respectful environment (without risk of being gaslighted, dismissed, being treated like you're “less than” or with toxic positivity), trauma-informed coaching may be for you.
Contact me to chat further.
Pete Walker – Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving, The Tao of Fully Feeling, Homesteading in the Calm Eye of the Storm
Alice Miller – The Drama of the Gifted Child, For Your Own Good, The Body Never Lies, The Truth Will Set You Free
Annie G. Rogers – The Unsayable: The Hidden Language of Trauma
Judith Herman – Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror
Ilene Smith – Moving Beyond Trauma: The Roadmap to Healing From Your Past and Living With Ease and Vitality
Gabor Maté – When the Body Says No, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, The Myth of Normal
Bessel van der Kolk - The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
Tracy Stecker – 5 Survivors: Personal Stories of Healing from PTSD and Traumatic Events
David A. Treleaven – Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness: Practices for Safe and Transformative Healing