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  • Writer's pictureCait Donovan

#straightfromcait: Is A Trauma Informed Therapist or A Burnout Coach Right For Your Healing?

Updated: Sep 28, 2022


As a coach, it can often be difficult to develop integrity around your abilities and limitations. Because coaching isn’t regulated, there can be some ambiguity surrounding what coaches are actually able to do and how they should advertise their offerings. Too often, I have heard stories about coaches who unintentionally triggered past traumas for a client, since they didn’t have the tools to address what was really going on.

In my coaching practice, even though I have a wealth of knowledge in the world of emotions and health, that doesn’t make me a therapist or a counselor. For example, I am not equipped to deal with deep-seated trauma, and I feel an obligation to relay that to my clients if they are in need of a licensed professional. Not to mention, there are plenty of therapists out there who are not trauma-informed and may not be able to support a client if they need to do extensive trauma work!

So what can we as coaches, therapists and guides do to ensure that we are taking on the clients we can help and referring out the clients whose specific needs are better met by other wellness professionals? This question arose during a conversation between myself and my previous coach Deepshikha Sairam the other day, and we decided that it ultimately boils down to integrity.

When you are a small business owner, it can be difficult to turn away clients, even those you may not be able to truly help. But by accepting clients you can’t fully support, you are doing a disservice to both them and the integrity of your coaching practice. The reality is that you will not be able to help everyone who crosses your path. So instead, cook the dish you have the ingredients for. Serve the people that you are designed for. Delight them with your work….and go home with your integrity intact.


  • “Chinese Medicine, instead, simply notes that emotions can affect the body and the physical body can affect the emotions. It’s a two-way street. You can become depressed because you’re injured and unable to really engage with life. It happened to me.” (2:49-3:04)

  • “Just because [trauma and burnout] are closely linked, that does not make me a trauma-informed therapist.” (4:03-4:10)

  • “As coaches, as people that work in a coaching space, what can we do within our own businesses to ensure that we are keeping people safe and that we aren’t taking on clients that need different support than we offer?....We decided it boils down to integrity. Do you feel safe enough in your business to turn people away that are willing to hire you because you know that they need different care than what you offer?” (6:49-7:24)

  • “Just because someone gets on a call with you...that doesn’t mean you should sell them your services. Just because someone needs help, that doesn’t mean you have to be the one to help them. Our true service is showing up fully for those we are meant to serve and releasing people that are meant to be served by others who are in better alignment with what they need.” (10:59-11:22)

  • I am done proving myself and hitting above my weight. I know what I’m good at and what I’m not – and there’s no judgment about either of those. I love referring out and connecting with other professionals in similar (and even the same) spaces as I work in. I’ve even recommended that people go to other burnout coaches because they do something a little different than I do that is likely better suited to that person right now.” (15:22-15:49)

  • “Coaches, therapists, guides….let’s normalize giving people the opportunity to work with exactly what they need. Let’s normalize centering the needs of the people that reach out for our help. Let’s normalize staying in our integrity and being honest about where our particular brand of genius is the most helpful. Let’s release the need to help everyone all the time and realize that we are not the only helpers. There are so many helpers out there, and each person deserves to find the humans that are perfect for their individual journeys.” (17:14-17:54)


Other Burnout Coaches I love:

Healing Generational Trauma:

Akashic Record Readings:

New Book by Martha Beck on Integrity:

Peer Hopes:


Trauma informed therapists will generally be licensed by state and it will be important for you to find someone that is local, even if you’re working online. This page on Psychology Today will help you:

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