Breaking Down Barriers: Why Trauma Awareness Matters In Coaching

Jul 09, 2024

Shownotes For Podcast Episode 8: Breaking Down Barriers: Why Trauma Awareness Matters In Coaching

In this episode of The Health and Wellness Coach Journal podcast, Dr. Jessica Singh connects with Dr. Melissa Hankins, the CEO and founder of Melissa Hankins Coaching, a coaching and consulting firm committed to helping physicians and leaders overcome burnout. Dr Hankins is a certified executive coach, Harvard-trained psychiatrist, and trauma-informed Emotional Freedom Techniques (tapping) practitioner. 

Dr. Hankins' Journey

Dr. Hankins' shares her journey of transitioning from psychiatry to executive coaching. She opens up about her own experiences with trauma and burnout, detailing her path to becoming trauma-aware and trauma-informed. 

The Importance Of Trauma Awareness In Coaching

Dr. Hankins explains how both big "T" and small "t" traumas influence behaviors and emphasizes the need for safety and security in our actions. She shares how her personal challenges have informed her professional approach, emphasizing the need for self-awareness and empowerment. Dr. Hankins and Dr. Singh discuss the need for coaches to understand trauma's pervasive effects and the role of self-awareness and empathy in effective coaching. 

Coach Scope of Practice

Dr. Hankins and Dr. Singh explore the scope of practice for coaches, distinguishing their roles from those of mental health professionals. Dr. Hankins underscores the importance of knowing when to refer clients to therapists or psychiatrists and understanding the limits of a coach's practice in dealing with trauma. 

What It Means To Be Trauma-Aware And Trauma-Informed As A Coach

Dr. Hankins and Dr. Singh discuss what it means to be trauma-aware and trauma-informed as a coach. Dr. Hanksin defines the terms, provides practical examples of trauma-informed practices, and stresses the importance of ongoing education and awareness in trauma-informed care. 


  • 0:00 - Introduction
  • 1:32 - Dr. Hankin's Career Journey: Transformational Experiences, And Passion For Working With Trauma
  • 14:01 - The Importance Of Trauma Awareness In Coaching
  • 21:26 - Coach Scope Of Practice
  • 24:52 -  What It Means To Be Trauma-Aware And Trauma-Informed As A Coach
  • 31:10 - Takeaways


Books Mentioned In This Episode

  • Harper, Joanna. The Trauma-Informed Coach: Strategies For Supporting Clients When Their Past Prevents Progress. Right Book Press, 2022.
  • Smith, Julia Vaughan. Coaching And Trauma: From Surviving To Thriving. Open University Press, 2019.


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