Coaching FAQ

Michelle Rosenthal quote

What's included in a Package, and how do they work?

Please open this PDF to read all about my Package offerings.

Is Trauma Recovery Coaching covered by insurance?

Sadly, most health insurance policies do not have a provision for Trauma Recovery Coaching in the mental health services covered. The Association responsible for my coach credentialing is working hard to lobby for this change in the insurance industry! But it could still be years before we see that change across the board. In the meantime, you might check with your employer's HR/benefits representative to see if there is a benefit offered, such as a reimbursement for a set number of Life/Career Coaching sessions. With a signed information release form from you, I will be happy to provide a letter to your benefits specialist stating you have engaged my services. However, I cannot make any guarantees that your employers plan will approve the request, nor can I adjust my rates based on acceptance or denial by any benefit program.

Why is certification important for trauma recovery coaches?

Right now, there are no standards, licenses, or regulations on the coaching industry in the United States. Regulations on coaching in other countries are scant or non-existent. Uncertified trauma recovery coaches are not held to ethical standards, need no specific training in trauma or trauma recovery, and receive no supervised practice. Anyone can offer trauma recovery coaching services. Survivors have no assurance that a potential coach is qualified and ethical unless certified through the International Association of Trauma Recovery Coaching.

How is Trauma Recovery Coaching different from therapy?

Bobbi Parish, the Executive Director of the International Association of Trauma Recovery Coaches, answers this question beautifully. So I offer you her words rather than my own.

"All of us have a journey to make in this life. Sometimes we know exactly where we’re headed but unexpected events occur that cause us to lose our focus, be distracted or become completely debilitated. At other times we don’t have a clue which way we need to head. We’ve become lost or our passion is leading us to change course. In both of these scenarios we can greatly benefit from the intervention of professional help. But what kind?

Some of us develop a mental illness that is so severe that it causes us to either not be able to move forward or to veer completely off course. We are disabled by our illness, either temporarily or permanently. Therapists, with their expertise and experience, are best suited for helping us when we are in this stage of our journey.

Others of us find ourselves in situations where we get stuck in a rut, lose our sense of direction, or become confused at choices in the path before us. We are not disabled by a mental illness, although we may have been in the past or we may have a mental illness but it is not so severe that it prevents us from moving about freely. Coaching through one on one and community interaction is perfect for these individuals.

Therapists are the trauma surgeons, emergency room personnel and paramedics of the mental health and well being community. Coaches have a fully stocked first aid kit and skills to put it to good use, but they are not physicians. Coaching clients may be what I call “the walking wounded” but they have to be ambulatory in order to be a good fit for the coaching process.

A coach comes alongside their client to brainstorm, provide information, and examine potential decisions. A therapist can do all of these things, but they often also need to intervene at a deeper level to direct care, prescribe behavior and make choices on behalf of their client. A coach never takes that much control over a client’s life. Guide and encourage, yes. Command direction, never.

People can, and sometimes need to, move between therapy and coaching. Individuals who have gotten their mental health illnesses under control or in remission can benefit tremendously from individual and group coaching. Individuals who are being coached need to transfer to a therapist if they experience a mental health crisis. A good coach will help a client make this transfer when decompensation occurs, rather than continuing to try to tend to it themselves."

What makes Trauma Recovery Coaching unique?

Interestingly, when I started the coursework for trauma recovery coaching, I experienced how trauma coaching differs from therapy as "old stuff" started to come up again. I had learned the unique characteristics in class logically, but now I was feeling that difference, too.

While all of my therapists were competent counselors, they remained clinically detached, never sharing any of themselves with me and not offering support or communication outside of therapy sessions. This is the standard medical model of the therapist-client relationship – one where the therapist maintains a place of authority as the expert.

But a crucial element of healing trauma is the opportunity to experience a safe, healthy, and balanced relationship – for the client to have a deep and trusting relationship modeled for them, offering a space filled with tender care and empathy without a whiff of judgment. Sometimes, this is the first time a client has ever experienced such a profound connection with another person in their life.

Trauma is "The Great Disconnector." It disconnects us from ourselves, other people, and the world. Working with a certified trauma coach, the client first learns to connect with the coach and then reconnects with themselves and the world authentically. This offers a powerful and unique environment for healing the deep and multi-layered wounds of trauma.

Therapists are crucial members of a client's mental health support system. They provide services that coaches are not trained in or qualified to offer. The reverse is also true: most therapists never receive any training on trauma in their degree programs and cannot provide the trauma-specific model of healing offered by trauma coaches.

"Recovery can take place only within the context of relationships; it cannot occur in isolation. In her renewed connection with other people, the survivor re-creates the psychological faculties that were damaged or deformed by the traumatic experience. These faculties include the basic operations of trust, autonomy, initiative, competence, identity, and intimacy.

Just as these capabilities are formed in relationships with other people, they must be reformed in such relationships."

― Judith Lewis Herman, Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror

I've read books and watched videos about Narcissistic Abuse, but I'm still miserable...will coaching even help?

When asked this question, I am reminded of my assumptions as I exited from my first marriage of 17 years to a narcissistically abusive man. I accepted that I might need "a little therapy," and maybe take an antidepressant for a few weeks until I was "back on my feet." But then "I'll be fine....right??", I wasn't.

While I'm not saying that it is impossible for some abuse survivors to re-establish balance and mental well-being quickly -- that wasn't the case for me. I discovered that the after-effects of the narcissistic abuse I endured from age 16 to 39 ran very deep. I also came to find that my abuse trauma was exacerbated by childhood developmental trauma and attachment wounds. Even still, I read every book I could get my hands on and viewed countless YouTube videos. I binge-watched Julia Roberts in "Sleeping with the Enemy" and Jennifer Lopez in "Enough."

While these activities were cathartic, validated my experience, and even helped me gain language and labels for the madness I'd lived in, it wasn't healing. Supplemental materials can certainly help, but they alone are not the answer. And therapy isn't the complete answer, either (Please read "How is Trauma Recovery Coaching Different from Therapy?").

Narcissistic abuse is a "relational trauma" -- it happens in a relationship you're invested in. It strips a person's sense of self-worth and ability to trust, creates a deep fear of conflict, and causes problems in all aspects of their relationships. It also creates psychological and emotional trauma that imprints on the survivor's central nervous system. To heal and recover, we must learn (or relearn) the dynamics of a safe, supportive and healthy relationship, re-establish central nervous system regulation, and reconnect with ourselves on a deep level.

These things cannot happen from reading a book...or a hundred books. But they do occur in the safe, supportive, eternally non-judgemental, empathy-filled relationship a Trauma Recovery Coach builds with her clients. The title "Trauma Recovery Coach" says it clearly – we specialize in trauma and employ methods that bring about real and deep healing.

"Repeatedly in the testimony of survivors there comes a moment when a sense of connection is restored by another person’s unaffected display of generosity. Something in herself that the victim believes to be irretrievably destroyed---faith, decency, courage---is reawakened by an example of common altruism. Mirrored in the actions of others, the survivor recognizes and reclaims a lost part of herself. At that moment, the survivor begins to rejoin the human commonality...

― Judith Lewis Herman, Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror

What happens in coaching sessions? Do I have to talk about the abuse?

You are in the driver’s seat. You choose what we talk about and how “deep” we go. Always. In Trauma Recovery Coaching sessions, we acknowledge past traumas without going “back” to relive the details. We seek only to understand how those experiences are affecting your life today. Sometimes it is helpful to find the “birth” of a behavior or belief, especially if it no longer serves you or leads to repeating a cycle of trauma-response behaviors in present-day situations. We will gently explore what is happening to you physically, mentally, and emotionally as we find these connections, so the Fog of Abuse is lifted, you gain new insight, and you can move forward with clarity.

What platform do you use for coaching session?

The primary considerations are:

1) Zoom is not 100% secure for data breaches. But it is familiar to most people and might already be installed on your computer or phone.

2) Spruce Health is a HIPAA-compliant, secure platform that offers video calling. The app is free for clients to download and use, plus a web version is available. Creating an account is straightforward.

For more details, please refer to my Secure Communication page.

If you prefer to use Zoom, enter my Meeting Room.

Can Jenny determine a mental health diagnosis or prescribe medication?

No. I am neither a medical doctor nor a licensed therapist or psychiatrist. I have a general working knowledge of mental health conditions that trauma survivors sometimes struggle with. This knowledge is essential to understand my client’s mental health experience, confer with other mental health professionals, or interpret medical records I might receive about a client. I also have a basic understanding of psychotropic medications needed to treat those illnesses. As a coach, I never advise about medication, but my familiarity with them will help me understand a client’s daily experience.

You have choices. You don’t have to do this alone.

Allow me to step in beside you, and we’ll walk your toxic relationship recovery journey together.

Schedule an Initial Consultation