Addressing Trauma in Recovery Coaching
Trauma and traumatic experiences are both factors that must be addressed in a successsful recovery continuum of care. The relationship between interpersonal violence/trauma and substance use disorders is significant and complex. The prevalence of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse among women in substance abuse treatment programs is estimated to range from 30 percent to more than 90 percent, depending on the definition of abuse and the specific target population. In addition, alcohol and drug problems have been shown to increase vulnerability in both men and women, to violence through exposure to unsafe situations.
Trauma means experiencing, witnessing, or being threatened with an event or events that involve actual serious injury, a threat to the physical integrity of one’s self or others, or possible death. The responses to these events include intense fear, helplessness, or horror. There is a critical need to address trauma as part of substance abuse treatment. Misidentified or misdiagnosed trauma-related symptoms interfere with help seeking, hamper engagement in the recovery process, lead to early dropout from services, and make relapse more likely. The prevalence of predisposing trauma conditions in men and women entering substance abuse recovery programs points to the need to screen and assess clients for the possibility of trauma-related disorders.
Addressing trauma in our Recovery Coaching Program involves both “trauma-informed” and “traumaspecific” approaches. Trauma-informed systems and services take into account knowledge about trauma—its impact, interpersonal dynamics, and paths to recovery—and incorporate this knowledge thoroughly in all aspects of service delivery. The primary goals of trauma-specific services are more focused: to address directly the impact of trauma on people’s lives and to facilitate trauma recovery and healing. Ideally, our program will create a trauma-informed environment, provide services that are sensitive and responsive to the unique needs of trauma survivors, and offer trauma-specific interventions.
As coaches, we intend to seek change in the clients thinking process when it comes to nearly every aspect of negative emotion and responses. We are NOT trauma therapists, we are recovery coaches and our aim is to use techniques and interventions that provide relief and open new doors for clients. Many of our past clients shared stories of their years of therapy and lack of improvement in their ability to a live life free of substance-use due to their perception of what trauma meant in their lives. Our interventions are designed to deal with today and the goals of our clients in recovery NOW.