trauma coach,trauma informed coaching,trauma coach,trauma recovery coach,Trauma coach certification

Trauma Coach Certification: Become Trauma Informed

trauma coach,trauma informed coaching,trauma coach,trauma recovery coach,Trauma coach certification
Written by: Sophie Kessner
The Sophie Kessner Podcast
The Sophie Kessner Podcast
Trauma Coach Certification: Become Trauma Informed

The Importance of Trauma informed Coaching

Are you looking for a trauma coach certification or want to become a trauma informed coach? The most recent studies show that more than 5.2 million Americans are living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder 70% of Americans suffer a traumatic event in their lifetime 27% percent of those with PTSD attempt suicide Trauma changes lives.

Trauma has a significant impact on a survivor’s emotional and physical health. Many develop PTSD, which changes the way they relate to themselves and the world around them. Other survivors also battle depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

You can read the full podcast transcript for this episode below:

Well, welcome back to another episode of the Sophie Kessner podcast. So I want to have a fun conversation about trauma coaching, as we are exploring what trauma is, how it shows up for business owners, the impact of it for ourselves and in just life in general. Talk about how to find the right trauma coach for you and your needs and recommendations, along with looking for a trauma-informed coaching certification program finding what’s right for you. So there’s a full blog that goes along with this episode. You can find it on my website,, for a slash podcast. It’ll be under finding a trauma coach or trauma-informed coaching certification program, so feel free to check that out. Okay, so let’s dive on in.
The first thing that I want to talk about is how important understanding what trauma actually is, and what I mean when I say that is no matter what industry you’re in. If you are in the service-based industry, where you’re working with humans, you are going to be working with trauma. We all have it, we all experience it in our lives, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the end of the world, so bad, but what it does mean is we need to be cognizant and aware and informed about how to work with it when it does show up, instead of continuing to perpetuate potentially more harm. Now I bring up this conversation for a few reasons. One I think the trend of trauma work has really blown up over the last few years, for whatever reason, and a lot of folks are online talking about trauma work, talking about being trauma-informed, talking about the nervous system, and these have become somewhat buzzwords And, unfortunately, with any buzzy, viral topic, there’s a lot of misinformation that gets spread about what it is, what it looks like, what it means. So my goal with this episode is to really help you the listener, the client, the coach to understand what it means to be trauma-aware, trauma-informed, trauma-trained, how to look out and know when you are finding somebody who actually has the appropriate expertise in training, when to outsource out and where if you want to actually become trained and certified in these modalities, how to go about and do that, based off of the people that I personally trust and believe in and have worked with.
So fun facts, fun statistics. The most recent studies show that more than 5.2 million Americans so we’re just talking about the US here live with PTSD. So this is a huge number. We’re talking about over 70% of Americans. Folks in the US have suffered at some point in their lives from some sort of traumatic event or experience, and out of that, 70% about 27% have either experienced PTSD or suicidal ideation, things of the sort, and it’s just to emphasize how much these types of things can change your life.
Now, if you’re not familiar with the conversation of what trauma is, please go back to one of our previous episodes on understanding the trauma of business and how that shows up. And in this episode, what I want to preface for you is no matter what the work that you do with your health coach, whether you’re an embodiment coach, whether you’re a nutrition coach, whether you’re just a functional medicine practitioner, whether you’re a copywriter, a business coach, a marketing coach, you’re working with people And people have stuff that comes up. Now, this isn’t saying that every single person is going to be on the extreme end of the spectrum, but what it does mean is we’re talking about 70% of folks have experienced some sort of major traumatic event in their life. 70% That means if you have 10 clients, seven out of those 10 clients likely have some pretty intense stuff that they’re working through, and out of those seven, at least 27% 30% of that. So about two to three of those folks are struggling with the aftermath of those events. So this doesn’t mean that you need to be a trauma expert. That’s not what we’re saying. We don’t want everybody online talking about how they’re trauma experts and they’re going to hear your trauma, because that is also incredibly dangerous and problematic.
But what we do want to be aware of is delineating between the difference of trauma coaching versus life coaching and understanding the gap that exists what trauma coaching actually is, what life coaching actually is, or the coaching that you do in whatever your area of specialties are and understanding how to incorporate trauma-informed care and practices into your business and how you work with clients. So the first thing that we can dive in here on is the difference between trauma coaching and life coaching, and this is really well laid out in the blog that I wrote. Someone to read some pieces from this just to emphasize them for you, because I know some folks prefer to listen versus read. But essentially, trauma coaching is about working with and on the actual trauma itself. This is not about being trauma-informed. This is about being trauma trained. I’ll go a little deeper in this in a moment.
But essentially, life coaching is working with people on specific goals, whether it’s the personal or professional development, life coaching in the area of relationships, life coaching in the area of business, life coaching in the area of career, body image, whatever those things are. And so you’re there, working with a client trying to create positive change in their lives by setting actionable goals, clear steps, and helping them move towards those goals by developing a really clear action plan, holding them accountable, providing support along the way. So health coaching, fitness coaching, all of the things. And it’s different because this is focused on achieving a very specific goal based on action And it’s not about the therapeutic component of self-discovery and personal healing that comes up. But oftentimes what we find is folks who are in the life coaching space find themselves working with the components of self-discovery and personal relationship and all of the other pieces that come up, whether it’s inner child work, family dynamics, et cetera.
Now this is where things can get a little sticky right, because the biggest difference between a life coach and a trauma-informed coach I’m going to explain this in more depth in a minute here is that the trauma-informed coach is more so focused on healing from the experience and knowing how to go beyond the goal setting, beyond the positive thinking, beyond this piece of action items like here’s a meditation or a breathwork practice, or do this specific thing. I’m going to hold you accountable to it And more so they’re working with the emotional component of it. They’re helping the client achieve those things while also being aware of how symptomology of trauma may be showing up in the experience of achieving said goals. So you’ve got a live coach who is maybe aware that trauma exists, but they don’t have any actual training or in-depth understanding about what it looks like, how it shows up and how it impacts the client. And then you have a trauma-informed life coach who has a deeper understanding, has been properly and professionally trained by accredited experts or institutions and can clearly understand and see when there is trauma symptomology showing up, how to support a client in regulating out of it emotionally and get back to a place of feeling grounded and able to move through the action steps that they’ve been given.
Now, important distinction here. I’m going to really emphasize this If you are trauma-informed, that does not mean that you are going into the depths of somebody’s trauma in your coaching sessions. This is outside of your scope of practice. Trauma-informed coaching means that you have the awareness of what trauma is, what it looks like and how it might be showing up. And your main goal or objective when working with this is just to support somebody and noticing oh okay, there’s a lot of energy here. I’m noticing they’re really stuck, noticing they’re in a lot of hypervigilance, helping them come out of that with basic foundational regulation tools and practices to help them so that your work can be better implemented, and then ideally, referring out to trained professionals who can support them on a deeper level with actually unraveling, renegotiating and recovering from the specific traumatic events, whether those are shock trauma, developmental trauma, chronic trauma, et cetera.
So how do you know who to trust, what to find what it means to be a trauma-informed coach? And I think, before we can really understand this, it’s understanding the three different levels of trauma knowledge. Essentially, now, most folks in the world are trauma aware. They’re aware that trauma is a thing and it exists and it’s a word and people have it. But if you ask them to explain it what it is, how it works, how it shows up, they probably wouldn’t be able to take it very far. They just know that it’s a thing and if somebody has something really hard in their life, they likely have trauma. Now, trauma-informed takes that up a step. It means that this person has been trained to be able to track and know when somebody is going into a trauma response and can identify those symptomology of trauma and help them regulate out of it so that they can be more present with themselves, with life and with whatever action steps they’re taking.
The third level of this is being trauma-trained. Now, going from trauma-informed to trauma-trained is not a six-month course. This is years and hundreds of hours of study, of practice, of clinical supervision that somebody must go through. Who is interested in working at this level with folks? because this is incredibly vulnerable, tender work that we’re doing. And what it means to be trauma-trained is that you’re actually going into working with specific events, specific experiences, specific symptomology and with a very specific titrated skill set, supporting the renegotiation and the recovery process of that traumatic symptomology that might be showing up. So here’s how you can think of this.
Trauma-informed is working with trauma and knowing that it exists in the bigger scope of what you’re doing, but you’re not working directly on the trauma. Trauma-trained is when you’re actually going in and you’re coming in to work on the trauma. Somebody is coming to you and they’re saying I’m noticing that I’m in a complete shutdown. I’m noticing that I’m having severe panic attacks. I’m noticing that I’m having all of these flashbacks and things come up from whatever specific event. I’m noticing that there’s this whole distrust or whatever it is. They’re coming in specifically to work on the symptomology of the traumatic experiences that they’ve had, whereas trauma-informed is not leading with working on the trauma. It’s leading with achieving other specific things, with the awareness that those symptoms might exist, in knowing how to track and recognize them and support somebody and coming out of them so that they can continue and work on the specific thing. So an example of this would be in marketing or business coaching.
If you are a trauma-informed business coach, having the awareness of when your client might be stuck in a pattern of hypervigilance, hyperarousal, knowing what those terminologies mean, knowing how to track and support them and either down-regulating or up-regulating to get back to a baseline, knowing how to refer them out, adjusting their business or marketing strategy to better support their healing process, but you’re not going into the trauma. A trauma-trained practitioner will meet the client in the trauma and they will work very slowly and intimately with the depths of what it is that’s actually showing up. So in this scenario, what would happen is the client who might be coming to you for business coaching, you notice is Becoming very emotional and coaching calls not able to really move through the, the plan that you’ve created together, and dealing with a lot of really negative self-talk I’m a lot of doubts, a lot of distractions, unable to focus, etc. And you have the awareness of how symptomology looks when it comes to trauma And you support them on the call and getting back to a place of regulation. You’re not going into the, the story of the trauma or what the thing actually is, but you’re helping them feel safe in the here and now and then you refer them out to a trained practitioner that you trust To go and work specifically on the symptoms that they’re experiencing. And they go when they work with this trained practitioner and that trained protect practitioner Slowly over time, supports them in coming out of those Spaces of hyper vigilance and coming back into developing more capacity to be present with life, allowing them to be able to do more in your work. So this is not about you knowing how to do everything for everyone and Trying to take it all on and trying to be, you know, the hero in somebody’s story. You know, even with the best intentions, but instead you’re recognizing your boundaries, your scope of practice, what it means to stay in your lane, and you’re making sure that the client is getting the help that they actually need. So What? what makes somebody? trauma trained versus trauma informed?
There is professional training for both now, a trauma trainee or, sorry, a trauma informed Program or certification. These are becoming very trendy in the online space, especially for coaches, and there’s a lot of programs that are out there. But ideally you have something that is accredited by some sort of institution, whether it’s the ICF or others, and It has a robust curriculum. The people that are teaching it have been trained in trauma. They have a background in the history, with years of experience, ideally, and It will take you through a shorter process usually between three to six months worth of training at minimum. To be able to identify and work with What kind of trauma symptomology may be showing up with your clients goes through a much more robust and Intense training For years at a time. We’re talking at least two to three years minimum of just the training.
Now there are a An abundance of different modalities and we’re talking about trauma work. There are coaches who can become trauma recovery coaches who can work specifically on trauma who’ve gone through intense training. There’s the somatic experiencing program that works with practitioners and other clinical professionals and licensed medical professionals on becoming trauma trained, which is a three-year program, and then there are other types of Trauma recovery programs like EMDR, which is eye movement, desensitization and reprocessing, our trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy, TF-CVT, which would be more so with folks who are licensed and trained psychologists, therapists, psychoanalysts, things of the sort And these are tools that these folks use in tandem with The wide variety of information and understanding of trauma and the human psyche To support somebody in the process. Now I think the clear delineators here are the time spent training, studying And learning and working and having supervision in these areas. So if it’s a shorter program, chances are it’s just about becoming trauma informed. If it’s a longer program, it’s just about becoming trauma-informed. If it’s a longer program, chances are it’s much closer to you actually becoming trauma trained. But in addition to that, you want to make sure that there’s also a high level of Hours that need to be completed for your Graduation, completion, certification, etc. Meaning that you have supervision Around the sessions that you must personally complete, training and experience that you must have with others, getting consultation, getting supervision on your cases, so that you know What you’re doing is right and that you’re not unintentionally inflicting more harm or potentially re-traumatizing clients that you might be working with. So becoming trauma-trained is a much more nuanced, multifaceted, complex component of what somebody does, but it’s what makes them so good at what they do. They have a deep understanding of mental illnesses, of early developmental components, of internal family systems, and they can spot these things and see things that oftentimes, being trauma-informed, it just doesn’t have the depth to it, and this is why it’s important for folks to make sure that, a you’re staying in your lane if you’re a coach or practitioner, but, b if you’re a client, that you’re really vetting the people that you’re working with and you’re knowing what you’re working with them on and for and that you are able to get the right support when you need it.
Now, talking a little bit about when do you go from a trauma recovery coach or a trauma-trained coach or practitioner somebody who may be an SEP or sorts versus when to go and see a licensed medical professional. I think this is a very nuanced conversation, but I think that the first big red flag here is obviously when somebody is clinically diagnosed for something that they definitely need to be working with a licensed professional, licensed professional medical professional like a psychiatrist, a therapist, things of the sort who have been highly trained and have an entire board behind them of how to work with more serious symptoms like chronic depression or like suicidal ideation, addiction, things of the sort And when working with domestic abuse, substance abuse, when there’s domestic violence, so that this person can get what they need. And it’s important as coaches and as practitioners, that we’re not trying to work outside of our scope or, if we are working with somebody who has either been diagnosed, is dealing with other components that are more severe, that they also have the appropriate support outside of our work and that we can work in tandem with other professionals to make sure that this person is getting what they need. I mentioned a little bit about trauma-trained and trauma-informed programs at the beginning, so there’s a few that I would look at. The first I’ll talk about is the trauma-informed certification. So there’s one program that I stand behind and it is the Trauma and Semmatics Trauma-Informed Coaching Certification by Will Resnan and Ariana Joy, and this is a 35-hour personal development program and coaching certification for becoming trauma-informed. It’s all online, it’s virtual, but you have a certain amount of hours that you must complete and it’s pretty intimate. So you can go through this to really understand what trauma is, how it shows up, how to become informed and how to provide gentle practices, foundational practices to support somebody in regulating and feeling safe in their body in the present moment, so that you can continue to do the work that you’re doing with your other professional training as a health coach, a business coach, a marketing coach, et cetera.
Now, if you want to take it a step further, definitely start A with your trauma-informed care. But if you want to take it a step further, you can look into things like the Semmatic Experiencing Practitioner Training or the Semmatic Experiencing Institute, international Institute for Trauma Recovery and Trauma Healing. Now, this is a three-year-long program founded by the father of trauma work or father of semantics, which is Dr Peter Levine, and this institution was originally created to work with licensed and clinical health professionals, medical professionals, to support trauma survivors in healing from their trauma. The site for this is called traumahealingorg Trauma Healing or Healing Trauma one or the other And it is an extensive three-year training program that you’ll go through and you go through it in small steps. Now, if you are a. If you’re brand new and you don’t have any coaching certifications you haven’t worked with any clients you may not qualify for this program and it’s by application. But if you are a coach or somebody who has been working with clients, you have other training and certifications. This would go in tandem with said trainings and certifications And it’s a pretty extensive program. It’s the one that I am just completing and it is quite quite intense.
Now another training for trauma being trauma-trained is the Neuro-Effective Touch Practitioner Training. Now this is a year-long program specifically geared around early developmental trauma and touch work. This would be in tandem with another intense trauma-trained professional training like SE Work. I would not do this solely by itself. And then there is the NARM, the Neuro-Effective Relational Model, which is a training for complex trauma and how to work with complex trauma that takes you through a few different stages and that you can go through as well. They have different levels depending on your background and expertise, and these are all incredible programs.
Now there is another methodology similar to somatic experiencing, called HAKOMI. It’s similar but different. Somebody who had trained with Peter worked with Peter and essentially built out their own program. Out of all of these, i would say the Somatic Experiencing Institute is the one that’s really been around the longest, that has the highest credentials, the highest standards. So if you’re really looking to become legitimate and really know that you’ve been well-trained, that is the training that I would go after, and then you can explore the other ones in tandem with that. And then for the trauma-informed coaching, the trauma and somatics is really the only one that I would look at, and the reason being is the folks who created it are actually both certified through the SEI Institute, the Sematic Experiencing Institute. They’re both certified Sematic Experiencing Practitioners. So everything that you’re learning there is through the lens of SE, which is really really helpful if you are wanting to continue to go down that path.
Now, unfortunately, i cannot speak to all of the different types of self-proclaimed trauma-informed whatever it is programs out there. But what I would say is just to be really discerning, to be really clear about what you’re creating and what you’re doing, and if you’ve gone through a training, whether it’s a breathwork training that’s saying it’s a breathwork, trauma-informed training or a Sematic, trauma-informed Coaching Program or whatever it is, to really do your research, because this is not light work. You’re working with the most intimate and vulnerable parts of people’s psyches And if you are somebody who is seeking support, you’re putting yourself in an incredibly vulnerable position. You wanna make sure that the people that you are inviting into these places know what they’re doing, really understand how to work with your system, and if they don’t, it’s important for you to be able to identify and recognize that. So ask for certifications, ask for qualifications, make sure that this person really has done they’re training, the research, that has supervision, that has resources, that knows how to work with you. And if they don’t, that’s okay.
Maybe it’s just getting clear on what is the line of their scope of practice and where do things start to fall outside of their practice? If you’re looking for the links for any of those, you can find those again on the blog, on my site, sophiekessnercom, for a slash podcast, and we’ve talked a lot about what these things mean. But let’s dive in a little bit about the scope. What is the scope of practice? Cause this tends to be also a gray area. So the scope of practice for somebody who’s a trauma informed coach does not. They don’t work and are not qualified to treat or diagnose mental health conditions. So let’s identify that first.
This person is not there to diagnose you. They’re not there to treat you. They’re there to support you in the field that they work in. So if they’re a trauma informed breathwork coach, you’re going to them for breathwork So that they can help you with whatever the breathwork tools are there to help you with. If they’re a trauma informed business coach, they’re helping you with business, not with the trauma. They understand how trauma shows up. They know how to work with it when it does show up, but they’re not working on it. If you’re working with a trauma informed relationship coach, you’re working with them on the relationship, not trying to heal the relational trauma, because this is a whole field of study under the umbrella of trauma work that is much more comprehensive and complex. If you’re working with a sex coach who’s trauma informed, you’re working with them specifically around the sexological components of it. But again, make sure that this person has actually been trained and do your research on the type of training and accreditation that this person has or is showcasing.
So trauma informed coaches show up in a few ways and they do a few things. They’re really working with helping clients understand and gain insights from their past experiences in their life and how it’s showing up and impacting them, but they’re looking more so to support them in the management of it and building their self-esteem, building their confidence, helping them set goals, have clear intentions, understand their values, developing communication skills and learning how to better express themselves. They’re working towards going somewhere specifically, and the best thing that you can look at with trauma informed coaches is that they’re there to create a safe and supportive environment to help clients really better understand themselves and work on whatever they’re coming to work with them on and learning how to manage the behaviors, the emotions, the things but they’re not trying to treat those things. So with a trauma-trained coach, or trauma coach specifically, who works on the trauma, this person is helping the client actually understand, identify and treat the underlying related symptomology, feelings, experience, expression of the trauma and how that adaptive coping skills strategy or defense pattern has been developed, and then working with unpacking and unwinding that to help them better build resilience and capacity for life to navigate stress. Without going back into such trauma responses are coping strategies. They’re working with developing the ability to move through life and navigate future stressors with a whole lot more capacity to feel more capable within what they’re doing, better understand themselves, setting healthy boundaries, developing self-compassion and really knowing how to take charge of their own healing process. Now, if you’re working in more specific fields whether it’s developmental, relational, chronic shock then you’re working specifically on those minute components.
Now here’s a fun question Do you need a trauma-informed coaching certification for your business? I personally believe that every single coach who is doing any kind of work with folks should, at the bare minimum, go through a trauma-informed coaching certification, and the reason being is that every single person has trauma, has experienced some sort of trauma in their lives, and if we at the bare minimum at least know how to track it and how to help them down regulate, we will prevent the perpetuation of re-traumatization in our coaching sessions and in our coaching practices, and it is something that can be incredibly helpful. Now, if you are looking for an actual trauma-trained practitioner, you can go to the SE page, the TraumaHealingorg and go to the directory there and look for practitioners, and you can find practitioners all over the world. I am wrapping up at the time of this, recording my advanced year, and will be on track for certification by the end of August 2023. So if you’d like to learn more about working with me personally, you can explore my private practice at somaticswithsophcom. There I offer more support around the developmental, relational components of trauma And I offer packages that are ad hoc sessions so you can purchase sessions or sliding scallots available, because I know it’s something that this isn’t the thing that I’m trying to do to make me millions of dollars.
This is the thing that I do because I really, really love it and I’ve seen the impact that it’s had on my life and I want to be able to give that to others. Now that does not mean you have to work with me. You should find somebody. If you can find somebody local to you that you can do in-person work with, that would be highly recommended, especially if you’re working with anything that’s relational, early developmental and the same thing with the neuro-effective touch. So if you’re really wanting to dive into early developmental trauma or relational trauma, definitely go to the neuro-effective touch page and they have a list of their practitioners and directory there that you can reach out to. What fun, okay. So, in summary, as we’ve spent the last 30 plus minutes diving into this conversation, i want to applaud you for getting to the end of this episode.
This definitely is not the lightest conversation and it can be somewhat confronting, and I want to say to anybody who perhaps is recognizing where they may have operated outside of their scope, they may have said or done things that they weren’t aware that they were doing and maybe noticing components of self-doubt, of guilt, of shame, of uncertainty, of imposter syndrome, is to notice what’s there and look at what the wisdom is behind it. I don’t think imposter syndrome is a bad thing. It’s there to tell you hey, let’s look at this. Because if you’re noticing that you’re experiencing a lot of imposter syndrome about the work that you’re trying to do and maybe you have a really grandiose promise like I’m going to heal your trauma, but you have not yet gone through the extensive training there’s some wisdom in that And it’s your body trying to communicate to you hey, let’s look at this. Now, this is a different conversation than somebody who has gone through extensive training and is experiencing self-doubt around their skill set.
The best way to build a sense of self-assuredness and confidence is to continue to practice and train. So if you’re noticing self-doubt, if you’re noticing uncertainty, if you’re noticing that you’re questioning yourself and your skills or in your practice, look into it, get curious. Why. Where does self-questioning come from? Am I actually trained? And not to feel guilty or ashamed of it, but instead to get curious and say, okay, what actions can I actually take? Do I want to continue to try to actually focus on those things or do I actually want to hone in on something that I feel more competent and capable and qualified to actually be doing where I don’t experience symptoms of imposter syndrome?
Because if you are experiencing imposter syndrome, it may be a nugget of wisdom to say, hey, i don’t know if we feel 100% qualified or confident or competent doing this work And that’s okay. That is why these types of trainings and programs offer and require hours and hours and hours of practicum, supervision of practice, of personal sessions, of clinical group consults and one-to-one consults on case studies, so that you can build your confidence in them. And if you have not done that, then of course it makes sense that the imposter syndrome might be showing up. So if you’re noticing that, again a gentle reminder not to get angry with yourself or feel shamed about it or feel guilty about it. Look at this as an opportunity for yourself to continue to get curious about what you’re experiencing, to go and seek out the professional support, to go and look at how you can hone in and get into an area in your coaching business where you do feel really confident and competent, and if right now that’s not a thing, it might just mean that there’s an opportunity to develop skills in whatever area, so that you can feel that sense of confidence.
So thank you so much for tuning into this episode. I really, really appreciate you listening in, as always. Go ahead and refer back to the site sophiekesnercom forward slash podcast And you can see this episode on there to find all of the links and resources that were mentioned. If you need help or have questions or curiosities, you can reach out to Sophie at sophiekesnercom or hay at thesacreco for any general inquiries. And if you are wanting to explore working with me in a trauma-informed or trauma-trained way, working directly on the trauma through the lens of somatic experiencing, you can go to my site at somaticswithsophcom. All right, everybody, thank you so much for listening in and I will see you on the next episode.

Trauma Coach Resources Mentioned on This Podcast Episode

Trauma Coaching Versus Life Coaching

With the increased popularity of coaching over the last few decades, and the roar of social media continuing to amplify the conversations around the nervous system, trauma, and trauma recovery, clients AND coaches need to do their research in understanding the differences between trauma recovery work and traditional coaching skills.

Though some clients prefer certified coaches, most clients looking for a life coach believe that self love, affirmations, and mindset work is adequate for trauma recovery.

The Gap in Traditional Coaching

The average life coach is well-intentioned in their desire to support clients on their trauma recovery journey but may find their coaching strategies falling short when it comes to trauma recovery. That’s why clients and coaches alike need to understand the distinction between a life coach and trauma-informed coach for their trauma clients to have the best outcomes possible.

This growing gap in the industry calls for an evolution of the life coach into a trauma informed coach who has a thorough understanding of the trauma recovery process, how trauma works, the brain body connection, along with an in depth understanding of the nervous system

What is Trauma Coaching?

Trauma coaching is a specialty that focuses on the healing journey of trauma survivors. Trauma coaches are trained to understand how traumatic experiences can change people’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. They are experts in helping clients create a safe space to not only identify their triggers but learn coping mechanisms to help them manage their difficulties holistically.

What is life coaching?

This is a relatively new form of personal or professional development. It is an ongoing relationship between the client and the coach that helps to create positive change in their lives.

What is the goal of life coaching?

Life coaches help clients identify their goals, develop action plans to achieve them, and provide support along the way.

This form of coaching differs from therapy in that it focuses on achieving specific goals and is more action-oriented than therapy and tends to focus on the process of self discovery through goal setting.

What’s the difference between a life coach and a coach trained in trauma?

The primary difference between a life coach and a trauma informed coach is the focus on healing from past traumas. Trauma coaches recognize the need to look beyond goal setting and positive thinking for long-term and sustainable emotional healing.

This holistic approach takes into account the lived experience of those who are experiencing PTSD or complex trauma, that may show up as panic attacks, chronic depression or other symptoms of trauma providing support and guidance through the healing journey.

Trauma Informed Coaching Certification versus Trauma Recovery Coaching

Though there are plenty of ways to obtain certification as a trauma informed coach through the plethora of other programs or coaching certifications, in the realm of trauma healing, it’s crucial to find helping professionals who are more than just a trauma coach or life coach and have done substantial training in trauma recovery coaching, trauma informed care, and ideally, have work with some form of ICF accreditation trauma informed coach training or other trauma-trainings that deals with the nuances of complex trauma and the delicate healing journey that lies ahead for all adult survivors or abuse survivors.

Trauma Trained Versus Trauma-Informed coaching for trauma victims

Being trauma-informed means having an understanding of the impact that trauma can have on individuals and communities. It involves recognizing the signs and symptoms of trauma and working to create a safe and supportive environment for people who have experienced trauma.

On the other hand, being trauma-trained means having specialized training in treating trauma and its effects.

What makes someone a trauma-trained professional?

A trauma-trained professional or other certified clinical trauma professional has received specialized education and training in evidence-based treatments for trauma, such as Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), or Somatic Experiencing (SE).

While being trauma-informed is a great first step, it’s imperative to work with a trauma-trained professional when dealing with more intense trauma responses. This is because trauma responses can be complex and multifaceted, and they require a nuanced understanding of the various factors that contribute to trauma.

A trauma-informed coach is not necessarily trained to treat trauma and may not have the coaching skills required to support the trauma recovery process for clients who have a severe mental illness, chronic childhood trauma that needs attention.

For example, trauma responses may involve physiological changes in the body, such as an increase in heart rate or changes in breathing patterns.

A trauma-trained professional understands these changes and can help clients develop strategies for regulating their bodies and managing their emotions as a way of developing client regulation.

Additionally, trauma responses may be triggered by specific events, people, or situations that are associated with the trauma. A trauma-trained professional can help clients identify these triggers and develop coping strategies for managing them.

When to see a medical professional

In the case of a mental crisis when self loathing, self harm, drug addiction or other more serious symptoms show up, it’s important to connect with other licensed medical professionals who have advanced training to support survivors in dealing with the subsequent symptoms of trauma, ideally finding a professional who specializes in the field of the trauma whether it be domestic violence, family therapy, or other forms of clinically diagnosed mental illness.

Finally, trauma responses may involve complex emotions and thought patterns, such as feelings of shame, guilt, or self-blame. A trauma-trained professional can help clients work through these emotions and develop a more compassionate and understanding relationship with themselves.

Working with a Trauma-Trained Professional:

In short, while being trauma-informed is an important first step in creating a safe and supportive environment for people who have experienced trauma, it’s essential to work with a trauma-trained professional when dealing with more intense trauma responses.

By doing so, you can ensure that you have the knowledge and skills needed to help clients navigate the complexities of trauma and build a brighter future for themselves.

You can learn more about Soph’s training and background in trauma work at Trauma Coaching With Soph or find a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner on the directory at: where you can search for “a trauma coach near me” who has been accredited through the Somatic Experiencing international association.

Somatic Experiencing Institute Advanced Certification

SEI is Dr. Peter Levine’s international association dedicated to trauma survivors and working with the brain body connection to help coaches and trauma clients move from shock, fear, and other emotions to a healthy life that is post-trauma.

SEI provides advanced certification for trauma work with both in person courses or online learning opportunities.

This includes a life changing three year long training program to become a trauma trained professional Somatic Practitioner, as well as many other specific courses that focus on how to work with complex trauma along with teaching trauma related courses to help any individual overcome their own traumatic history.

This extensive training was originally developed for clinical psychologists, social workers, and other mental health professionals who work initially with trauma survivors and understand the leading causes of trauma but has become available to a wider variety of service providers including the trauma coach who is eager to understand their own trauma along with that of their clients.

SEI has one of the highest ratings for ethical standards and a robust curriculum to help students master the core competencies required to be considered a trauma-recovery coach and provide coaching services that better support clients in healing from past trauma.

NeuroAffective Touch Practitioner Training

NeuroAffective Touch (NAT) is a somatic therapy that uses gentle touch to help trauma survivors access the body’s regulatory systems and support them in healing from past traumas. With its roots in neuroscience, NAT works with the nervous system to move stuck emotions and assist clients as they explore their physical sensations while providing an environment of safety and support.

NAT practitioners have extensive training in understanding the nervous system, how to effectively apply neuroaffective touch, and how to create a safe space for clients to explore their trauma-related emotions. NAT is an effective treatment for both acute and complex trauma due to its ability to work with the body’s natural regulatory systems and help clients move away from fear, anxiety, and other overwhelming emotions which is an optimal approach when navigating childhood trauma.

Both NAT and SE certifications encourage students to practice in coaching triads and take turns both practicing and experiencing the work on their way to becoming fully certified trauma coach.

Trauma & Somatics Trauma informed coaching certification

Trauma and Somatics is a 35 hour personal development program and coaching certification that will dive deep into the fundamentals of trauma and provides coaching strategies along with trauma informed practices to helps coaches and other practitioners become simply aware of the ways a traumatic event can impact ones own life and how the coaching process can be used to help shift the behavioral reaction a client may be experiencing as a side effect of past trauma.

It’s important to reiterate that becoming a trauma informed coach or a life coach with an understanding of the nervous system doesnot qualify an individual to treat trauma but rather, ensures they are simply aware of HOW trauma may show up with clients they work with inside their coaching business.

The coaching certification to become a trauma informed practitioner is what will allows certified coaches to create a safe environment for their clients and use the tools within their coaching process to help regulate the nervous system as they continue to focus on their primary skill of life coaching or other.

What’s the difference between a Trauma Informed Coach Versus a Trauma Recovery Coach?

While both trauma informed coaching and trauma recovery coaching utilize the same basic principles to create a space for clients who have experienced trauma, there is an important distinction to be made between the two.

Trauma informed coaching focuses on creating a supportive environment and providing educational resources that help traumatized individuals learn to self-regulate, while trauma recovery coaching focuses on the actual healing process of a client’s past trauma.

Trauma recovery coaching is typically conducted by a certified and experienced Somatic Experiencing Practitioner who is knowledgeable about the physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and spiritual effects of trauma and can guide their clients through an individualized treatment plan that includes talk therapy, body-oriented approaches and other activities that are designed to help the client heal.

Trauma informed coaching is more focused on providing helpful resources and insights into how trauma can impact a person’s life without actually treating the traumas of the individual.

The emphasis is on creating an atmosphere of support and understanding so that clients feel safe to explore and heal from their traumatic experiences.

What is the scope of practice for trauma informed coaches?

In short, a trauma informed coach is not qualified to treat trauma or diagnose mental health conditions. The scope of practice for the trauma informed coaches is limited to providing emotional support and helping clients develop self-regulating skills to better manage their emotions and behaviors so they can cope more effectively with any future stressors that may arise as a result of past trauma.

How do trauma informed coaches help their clients?

In addition to providing emotional support, the scope of practice for a trauma informed coach includes helping clients gain insight into their past experiences and how they can affect their present life, exploring potential triggers and strategies to manage them, building self-esteem and confidence, exploring personal values and setting goals in alignment with those values, and developing communication skills to help clients better express themselves.

Overall, trauma informed coaches provide a safe and supportive environment for their clients while they gain insight into the root of their trauma and develop skills to manage challenging emotions and behaviors.

What is the goal of trauma informed coaching?

The ultimate goal of this work is to help clients live a more empowered life despite any past traumatic experiences they have endured. This work is not meant to replace traditional psychotherapy or other medical treatments for trauma, but rather, it is meant to be an adjunct therapy that can help clients move through their healing process and create a more fulfilling life.

What is the scope of trauma coaching?

The scope of trauma coaching is to help individuals heal and move forward from their traumatic experiences. Trauma coaches are trained in therapeutic techniques that address the emotional, physical, cognitive, and spiritual/energetic aspects of trauma so that clients can understand how it has been affecting their lives and how to create new coping strategies.

How do trauma coaches help their clients?

Trauma coaches help their clients identify and process any underlying feelings related to the trauma, develop more adaptive coping skills, build resilience in order to better manage future stressors, and gain insight into how past traumas have shaped current beliefs. Trauma coaching also emphasizes setting healthy boundaries and developing self-compassion as a way of empowering individuals to take charge of their own healing process.

What is the main goal of a trauma coach?

The goal of trauma coaching is to help clients create a healthier relationship with themselves, develop more adaptive coping strategies, and become empowered to move through life with greater resilience and hope. Ultimately, the objective of trauma coaching is to help individuals heal from past traumas so they can live a more fulfilling life.

Do I need a Coaching Certification for my Coaching business?

Yes, it is recommended to get a coaching certification in order to best serve your clients and increase their trust in you. A professional coach certification from an accredited institution demonstrates that you have the knowledge and experience needed to provide high-quality services to your clientele. Most certifications will also include specialized training in trauma informed coaching or other areas of focus depending on the needs of your clients.

How does a coaching certification help me?

Having a coaching certification also provides you with credibility and can help differentiate you from other coaches in the field. Additionally, many certifying organizations offer additional resources such as mentorship programs and continuing education opportunities which can be valuable to further your professional development in trauma informed coaching or any specialty area of focus.

Therefore, having a coaching certification is highly recommended for anyone who wishes to establish a credible coaching practice and provide the highest quality services to their clients.

Somatics With Soph

Somatics with Soph is my private practice as a trauma coach supporting clients dealing with the lasting symptoms of both shock-trauma and that of chronic-trauma stemming from neglect or abuse.

I am trained through both the Somatic Experiencing Institute along with my ongoing professional development through the NeuroAffective Touch Institute and have completed multiple trauma-informed coaching certifications with an extensive amount of clinical hours under supervision.

If you’d like to learn more about my private practice, you can go to:


Trauma coaching is an effective approach to helping individuals heal from trauma and create a life of greater resilience and fulfillment.

A professional certification in trauma coaching can help demonstrate your expertise and provide you with additional resources for continuing education in this important field. Somatics With Soph is my private practice as a trauma coach providing individual support to those dealing with the lasting effects of traumatic experiences.

SEI provides specialized training to become a certified trauma recovery coach and trauma informed practitioner, helping entrepreneurs navigate the complex space of trauma with skill and confidence. With this certification, coaches can create a safe environment for their clients and use the tools within their coaching process to help regulate the nervous system as they continue to focus on their primary skills of life coaching or business coaching.

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Meet The Host

Hey I’m Soph! I’m a mama and online digital marketer who’s been in the game since 2015. I LOVE building businesses that support creating real time freedom which is why I choose to specialize in email marketing, blogging and podcasting and teach others to do the same.

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I'm Sophie Kessner
trauma coach,trauma informed coaching,trauma coach,trauma recovery coach,Trauma coach certification

First generation Mexican American mama that’s gone from hood to strategic hustle. I’ve spent the last 10+ years inside the personal development space supporting 100’s of coaches in scaling 6 figure businesses online & supported 4 different companies in surpassing the 7 figure mark. Today, I focus on making scaling more sustainable by integrating the lenses of business, systems, automation and CEO Development through an Equity centered and Trauma informed lens.

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Sophie is the founder of The Sacred CEO™ Agency and has been in the service based coaching industry since 2015. She’s created and scaled 4 different multi 6 figure coaching programs including their latest course, The Online Business Automator.

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