Trauma is any experience interpreted as overly distressing.  This could be something as universal as combat or rape or as individual as your sibling always dipping into your share of food when you were kids.  Anyone experiencing combat or rape will have lingering issues to work through to varying degrees.  The food nabbing sibling may or may not leave behind lingering wounds.  I have heard these differentiated as Trauma- with a big ‘T’ and trauma- with a little ‘t’.

Any formally trained coach has the capacity to help clients through trauma, with a little t.  Depending on the extent of the trauma and whether or not the client has also experienced Trauma, with a big T, the coach may choose to continue, refer the client to a therapist or both.  Unless the coach focuses on trauma work, they’ll likely refer the client to a therapist any time Trauma, with a big T is present.

The below diagram illustrates what is referred to as a window of tolerance.  The grey wave illustrates the typical day to day ups and downs.  The red line is what happens after trauma- big T or little t.  We all work through some little t’s on our own and other times need some help.  This help could come in the form of therapy and/or coaching.

The big T’s that send that red line so high or so low that daily function is compromised may require the help of a therapist.  Once the red line has come back closer to the window of tolerance, it might be helpful for a coach to join the team.

Are you the grey line or the red line?  Are you within your window of tolerance?