As the coaching industry has moved more towards somatic approaches to healing (sexuality work, breathwork, body positivity, etc.) I get more and more messages from coaches with an energy of uncertainty, nerves and apprehension.
While, in reality, there’s something deep inside each human that knows how to honor and flow with the nervous system (it can be quite intuitive and natural, once you re-learn and remember) – our culture is pretty disconnected from gentle, consensual, attuned approaches to healing.
Here are four trauma-related questions coaches bring to me over and over:
- This one client of mine keeps dissociating in our sessions. What do I do?!
- My client didn’t realize she had some big childhood trauma, and through our work together, she’s starting to realize that she did. She’s getting flashbacks and feeling really overwhelmed. What do I do?!
- My client has trauma that’s similar to mine. I didn’t know about it when we started working together, and now we’re already in a contract together. It doesn’t feel right to refer her out. What do I do!?
- I’m nervous to study trauma because I’m worried if I start working with it, it’ll be too much for me. How do I manage the emotions of other people’s trauma without getting overwhelmed or exhausted?
While I’m happy to offer trusted advice in response to each of these questions – the truth is, there are also more indirect answers that go to the root of the challenge, rather than patching up the problems piece-meal.
When we understand nervous system dynamics and feel confident with trauma resolution practitioner skills, not only do we know what to do when these things come up – but we can also sometimes help mitigate their arrival in the first place.
- It’s possible that learning the skill of titration – moving slowly and at a pace sensitive enough to not overwhelm your client’s nervous system – could result in less (or no) dissociation for your client in sessions, less overwhelm or shock if something hidden shows up, and even less emotional intensity on your part as the coach.
- It’s possible that learning the skill of resourcing stability and neutrality, and amplifying the field of health in the beginning, middle and end of a session could result in a wider window of presence for your client, offering them more capacity to be with whatever shows up, as opposed to being taken out by it.
- It’s possible that learning the skill of pendulation – allowing attention to shift from one thing (more intense) to another (less intense), without pressuring the first thing to change – can give some much needed breathing space and extra support to your client (and you!) in a difficult moment.
- It’s possible that teaching your clients nervous system basics can enroll them in a gentler approach to their healing that works in everyone’s favor – yours included. Instead of wanting to excavate all the deep, dark stuff with immediacy and vigor, perhaps they’ll feel the tenderness of it all a bit more, perhaps they’ll grow an interest in moving with more attuned care.
Many of us haven’t experienced the difference of working with a nervous system expert or deeply trauma informed guide. But once we do, we start to feel the magic. The magic of gentle but efficient healing. The magic of super-aligning to our most natural aptitude to self-correct and thrive. The magic of embodied coherence.
If you work as a coach or care provider – especially around the topics of sexuality, relationships, embodiment, food and body image or health – I’d love love love to support you by sharing 5 Key Skills for Working with Trauma this Thursday 10am-12pm PST.
(A replay will be sent out to all who register at the link above.)
I’d love to teach you fundamental skills to support your career as well as your clients!
Big love. Lots of trust.
PS – Here’s a testimonial I received after a recent workshop. While this review doesn’t talk about trauma… that’s actually the point. In really well-held spaces, clients will feel like they’re not even “working on their trauma”… they’re just safely reblooming into who they were always meant to be.
“Rebloom Your Sexuality helped me call in EXACTLY what I was wanting: confidence, self-love, self-acceptance and personal freedom. After years of being avoidant and deprived of connection, this 4 day immersion helped me to OPEN with total safety. I’m now engaging with romance and friendship with so much more ease and play. The lessons and medicine this retreat allowed me to totally BLOSSOM and I feel so much lighter for it. I am forever grateful for Rachael’s work: her magic, her ability to see you and bring safety into the container, her medicine of community and love and sacredness. Thank you.”