Being Trauma Informed in Your Client Work

Here at Applied Depth Institute, teaching practitioners how to co-create powerful transformation with their clients and inside of themselves is our sacred mission.

Most people don’t realize that part and parcel of being able to go deep and co-create real transformation and real empowerment with clients is to use a trauma informed approach in everything you do.

You can have the fanciest transformation skills in the world, but if they are likely to trigger trauma for your client or group, they will not only be out of integrity, they will also fall flat.

There is a lot that goes into being a trauma informed practitioner, and in the Sacred Depths Transformational Practitioner program it’s woven into every skill and technique you learn.

Here are some of the beginning basics that can guide your way:

What does being trauma informed mean, and why is it important?

Being trauma informed does not mean that you work directly with trauma or to heal someone of their trauma – that’s only in the scope of trained Trauma Workers.

What being trauma informed does mean is that as a coach or practitioner, you are aware that any individual you connect with, client or otherwise, may have experienced trauma. You therefore understand that it’s important to communicate and interact in ways with clients that don’t re-trigger or cause harm.

Being trauma informed also means you understand that trauma can come from personal experiences or from cultural systemic discrimination or harm. This is something you keep top of mind.

Can Coaches work with Clients who have experienced Trauma?

Trained therapists work with and treat trauma; coaches do not.

Sometimes, it will be valuable for a person to work with a therapist, as well as a coach. (Part of a coach’s job can be to support their clients to find outside resources that would be valuable for them.) Other times, clients who have experienced have an adequate baseline of working with the trauma, and coaching alone can further support them to make positive changes in the present.

What are some trauma informed best practices?

There are lots of things you want to really keep in mind and master in order to avoid re-triggering trauma. Here are a few things to consider to get you started:

  • Being very clear from the get-go on agreements and expectations is vital to being trauma informed. When there is clarity on agreements and expectations, there is more safety in the container.
  • Your rapport with your client is also a key component to being trauma informed. Trust & Trustworthiness is HUGE.
  • Create collaborative relationships versus tell the client what they “should” do. Creating space for your client’s agency and choice is trauma-informed.
  • Be mindful of getting consent & permission. For example, avoid:
    • Touching your client without asking first
    • Saying or doing things like “I went ahead and did an energy check on you….” without getting permission first
    • Going over-time on a session without acknowledging it and asking if it OK with your client.
  • Avoid asking your clients questions that have them re-live the trauma or feel the trauma in their body
  • Remember that coaching focuses on the present and future, not the past. When you ask about the past in your sessions, craft your questions so that your client considers those questions from their full resources in the present moment.
  • Be mindful to not inadvertently shame your client – really check your filters, your assumptions, your beliefs, and your energy in your client work.
  • Don’t see your client as their “label”: addict, abused child, etc. Remember that your client is whole and complete.
  • Be trauma-informed in your marketing as well. There are a lot of aspects to this, and one is – don’t activate fear in your marketing. Activate grounded hope and empowerment.

I find that when practitioners first become aware of the importance of being trauma informed, they can get a little scared. You want to be in integrity. You don’t want to harm your clients in any way.

My invitation to you: Instead of being scared, set the intention to be aware. Understand that no one is perfect and that mistakes might happen…but they will mostly be mitigated if you pay attention and learn trauma informed skills. Honor yourself for being an in-integrity practitioner, and so committed to your clients’ well being. I honor you for all this and more!

If you’d like to deepen your transformational skills and do so in a way that is trauma-informed, get in touch about the Sacred Depths Transformational Practitioner Training. Sacred Depths is the premiere training for in-integrity practitioners who want to go deep with their clients…and who are ready to go deeper inside of themselves.

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