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No matter what type of clients you work with, trauma has become more and more prevalent in coaching sessions. As the mental health crisis continues to grow, more people are looking for ways to heal from trauma —especially integrating their faith in the recovery process.

Trauma directly impacts functioning across all aspects of life. Because of this need, we have created a Trauma-Informed Care Coaching Certification to help train life coaches to better respond to and support those who have experienced any form of trauma.

We believe that anyone in ministry should have a basic understanding of trauma and its effect on mental, physical, social, and spiritual well-being.

DEADLINE: Apply by May 31st

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DEADLINE: Apply by May 31st

Note: Most scholarship decisions are made within 48 hours.

Creating a More Trauma-Informed Church and Community

No matter what type of coaching you offer, one thing has become increasingly clear… Trauma will likely show up in your coaching sessions.

With 70% of U.S. adults facing a traumatic event at least once in their lives, the need for Trauma-Informed Coaches has never been greater.

A coach untrained in identifying trauma risks leaving their clients feeling exposed, rather than empowered…

That’s why we recruited leading trauma experts to craft one of our most requested training programs: Trauma-Informed Care & Coaching 101 and 201.

Watch the video to see how you can be equipped to recognize and respond to trauma-related issues in your coaching sessions as a Certified Trauma-Informed Coach!

See What’s Included

Digital Text Book

Certificate of Completion

27 Coaching CE Credits

Industry Leading Instruction

27 Course Modules

Course Lessons and Descriptions

TIC 101: Foundations and Applications of Trauma-Informed Care

Foundations and Applications of Trauma-informed Care is designed to provide basic foundational knowledge of trauma-informed care with faith-based applications from leading Christian experts in the field. Based on SAMSHA’s principles of a trauma-informed approach, this course covers a wide variety of topics applicable to mental health professionals, pastors, coaches, teachers, healthcare workers and anyone providing direct care to hurting people.

Learning Objectives
Participants will…

  1. Discuss the foundations of a trauma-informed care approach from a faith-based perspective
  2. Recognize common signs and symptoms of trauma and how to help those who have experienced trauma
  3. Identify critical core listening skills and safe responses to trauma when sitting with victims of trauma
  4. Analyze the impact of trauma on the brain and its functioning during and after a traumatic event
  5. Explain the key differences between a traumatic event, trauma and complex trauma/C-PTSD
  6. Identify what is considered an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACEs) and the impact of childhood trauma throughout the lifespan
  7. Recognize how trauma can impact an individual’s emotional and behavioral reaction
  8. Identify ways to be on-going support for someone who has experienced a traumatic event or is suffering from the impact of trauma

Course Lessons and Descriptions

TIC 101: Recognizing  Trauma: How to Respond and Help
Jennifer Ellers, M.A.

It is now widely recognized that those in a caregiving role should have a complete picture of a person’s life situation, past, and present, to provide effective services with a healing or growth orientation. Past and present trauma deeply impacts the trajectory of life. In this lesson, Jennifer Ellers, M.A., reviews the importance and premise of trauma-informed care while highlighting the core principles of a trauma-informed approach to coaching and healing others.

TIC 102: Becoming a Safe Listener: Core Listening Skills and Responses to Trauma
Frederica Brooks Davis, Psy.D.

Hearing stories of trauma can be difficult, no matter your level of training. In this session, Dr. Frederica Brooks Davis will share basic listening skills, how to help others share their story, and how to effectively respond to trauma stories and survivors.

TIC 103: The Neurobiology of Trauma
Shannae Anderson, Ph.D.

In order to help an individual heal from trauma, we must first understand what happens to the brain and its functioning during and after a traumatic event. In this lesson, Dr. Shannae Anderson will provide an in-depth review of how trauma impacts the mind, brain, and body with healing insights and perspectives.

TIC 104: Complex Trauma: Core Issues and Trauma Bonds
Shannon Wolf, Ph.D.

Trauma may refer to a single incident, while complex trauma refers to a series of traumatic events that take place over a long period of time, like months or years. In this lesson, Dr. Shannon Wolf will discuss the differences between crisis, trauma, and complex trauma and how trauma bonds form and impact life and relationships.

TIC 105: Shame, Blame, and Redemption
Curt Thompson, M.D.

Shame is an interpersonal, neurobiological state that disrupts the function of the mind both intra and interpersonally. This lecture will explore the features of shame from the perspective of interpersonal neurobiology in the context of a biblical anthropology for Christian clients, along with the psychotherapeutic and spiritual practices that lead to healing.

TIC 106: Childhood Trauma, Families and Generational Influence
Paul Bernard, Ph.D.

Increasing numbers of children experience traumatic events in life. These adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can have a tremendous impact on future violence victimization and perpetration and lifelong health and opportunity. In this lesson, Dr. Paul Bernard discusses the impact of childhood trauma across the lifespan.

TIC 107: Grief and Trauma: Understanding the Connection
David Jenkins, Psy.D.

Grief as a result of trauma can present a unique set of problems; trauma as a result of intense grief can also occur. In this presentation, Dr. David Jenkins processes grief and trauma, how they work together, and what to do when grief and trauma appear together.

TIC 108: Trauma, Mental Health Disorders and Addiction
Warren Kinghorn, M.D.

After a traumatic event or repeated trauma, people respond differently, experiencing a wide range of emotional and behavioral reactions. In this lesson, Dr. Warren Kinghorn will discuss trauma and how it relates to mental health disorders and addiction.

TIC 109: Sexual Trauma and Violence
Jennifer Cisney Ellers, M.A.

Sexual trauma has a profound impact on those who experience it whether in childhood or as an adult. It also carries a greater weight of stigma than many other times of trauma. Jennifer Ellers discussed the broader definitions of sexual trauma and interpersonal violence, reviews impacts and outlines type of support and assistance available to survivors.

TIC 110: Vicarious Trauma
Jennifer Ellers, M.A. and Kevin Ellers, D.Min.

Vicarious trauma or secondary traumatic stress is a danger to all those who offer care to trauma survivors. Helpers must be aware of their risk of vicarious trauma and the steps that can be taken to protect themselves. In this lesson, Jennifer and Kevin Ellers also discuss keys for helper self-care and how to recognize signs of vicarious trauma in themselves and others.

TIC 111: The Antidote to Trauma: Attachment Bonds and Safe Relationships
Gary Sibcy, Ph.D.

Understanding how trauma victims need reliable and healthy attachment security and, therefore how to engage in healthy relationships with their family and with God is an important aspect in trauma-informed care. In this lecture, you will learn how relationships shape our brain’s ability to regulate emotion and how an important aspect for healing is for trauma victims to participate in safe, close, intimate relationships with God and others.

TIC 112: Surviving and Thriving: Overcoming a Victim Mindset
Leslie Vernick, M.A.

Those who have been abused often continue self-identifying as victims long after their abuse. They get stuck feeling helpless and powerless over their feelings, their choices, and their life. This lecture will help anyone providing care to recognize how this mindset hinders recovery and growth with a plan for the road forward.

TIC 113: The Church as a Healing Community
Diane Langberg, Ph.D.

In this session, noted trauma expert Dr. Diane Langberg will discuss the redemptive power as demonstrated by Christ in order to present a message of hope for the Church to be a healing community for those impacted by trauma.

TIC 114: Multicultural Sensitivity in Trauma-informed Care
Frederica Brooks Davis, Psy.D.

Trauma intersects in many different ways with culture, history, race, gender, location, and language. An effective trauma-informed care approach to caring for individuals with compassion begins by acknowledging, respecting, and integrating the individuals’ cultural values, beliefs, and practices in the healing process.

TIC 115: Moving On: Creating a Better Life and Tomorrow
Georgia Shaffer, M.A.

Our past in a lot of ways shapes our present and helps us identify who we are and where we are headed. Although we cannot undo the past, we can learn from it and begin a healing journey. In this lesson, Georgia Shaffer will provide impactful ways to help trauma victims know that healing is still possible, at the right time and in the right way.

TIC 201: Critical Issues and Skill Development in Trauma-informed Care and Coaching

Trauma significantly impacts a person’s mental, physical, and spiritual well-being and is a risk factor for numerous mental and behavioral health disorders. Trauma is a life-changing experience, and there is never a one-size-fits-all path to recovery. Critical Issues and Skill Development in Trauma-informed Care and Coaching will prepare a coach to work with anyone who has experienced a traumatic event. In this course, you will learn how to develop the necessary skills to mitigate further harm or re-traumatization and help clients carve a path forward to reclaim their sense of self and the life God has for them.

Learning Objectives
Participants will…

  1. Define the scope of trauma-informed coaching and identify the key roles and ethical issues involved.
  2. Describe strategies for building rapport and earning trust with trauma survivors
  3. Explain the role of forgiveness in trauma recovery and how it impacts communication and boundary-setting in coaching relationships.
  4. Assess and address common challenges and obstacles that clients may face when implementing core lifestyle practices for trauma recovery.
  5. Articulate the ethical principles and guidelines specific to trauma-informed coaching.
  6. Define post-traumatic growth (PTG) and explain its significance in the context of trauma recovery coaching.
  7. Describe the unique challenges faced by family members of trauma survivors and identify strategies to support their healing and well-being.
  8. Explain the principles of trauma-informed couples coaching and its significance in addressing trauma-related challenges within relationships.
  9. Articulate the benefits and challenges of trauma-informed group coaching and understand its unique dynamics compared to individual coaching.
  10. Explain the importance of cultural competence in trauma-informed coaching and recognize how cultural factors can impact trauma survivors’ experiences and needs.
  11. Describe effective engagement strategies for trauma survivors and apply them in coaching scenarios to establish a productive and trust-based coaching relationship.
  12. Recognize the signs and symptoms of burnout, vicarious trauma, and compassion fatigue in themselves and their clients, emphasizing the importance of self-awareness in coaching practice.

Course Lessons and Descriptions 

TIC 201: Trauma-informed Coaching: Scope and Practice Roles and Issues
Dina Jones, M.A.

TIC 202: Making Connections: Building Rapport Winning Trust with Trauma Survivors
Jennifer Ellers, M.A.

TIC 203: The Role of Forgiveness in Communication and Enforcing of Clear Boundaries
Christy Johnson, MBA

TIC 204: Trauma Recovery Coaching: Core Lifestyle Practices for Recovery
Jennifer Ellers, M.A. and Kevin Ellers, D.Min.

TIC 205: Trauma-informed Coaching Ethics, Function and Referral
Dina Jones, M.A.

TIC 206: Post-traumatic Growth Coaching Techniques
Georgia Shaffer, M.A.

TIC 207: Coaching Family Members of Trauma Survivors: Building a Path Forward
Jeff Mattson, M.A., and Terra Mattson, M.A.

TIC 208: Trauma-informed Couples Coaching
Chuck Elliott, M.A., and Ashley Elliott, M.S.

TIC 209: Trauma-informed Group Coaching
Georgia Shaffer, M.A.

TIC 210: Culturally Competent Trauma-informed Coaching
Mark Crear, Ph.D.

TIC 211: Trauma-informed Coaching: Engagement and Application
Dina Jones, M.A., Jennifer Ellers, M.A., Kevin Ellers, D.Min,, andChristy Johnson, MBA

TIC 212: Preventing Burnout, Vicarious Trauma and Compassion Fatigue: Self Care Strategies
Kevin Ellers, D.Min.


A trauma-informed coach is a professional who incorporates principles and practices of trauma-informed care into their coaching approach. Trauma-informed coaching recognizes the widespread impact of trauma on individuals and aims to create a safe and supportive environment for clients who may have experienced trauma.

Coaches help clients develop a healthy balance in life, give guidance in decision making, offer support in navigating mental health difficulties, and assistance in establishing a recovery plan. Coaches help clients find ways to obtain and maintain stability, manage difficult symptoms, rebuild relationships, and find a purpose for living. Coaches also help clients find resources for professional care and treatment, family support, and education.


The role of a trauma-informed coach involves providing support, guidance, and empowerment to individuals who have experienced trauma, recognizing and responding to the potential impact of trauma on their well-being.

Life coaches with trauma-informed training are unlike licensed mental health care providers in that coaches do not diagnose, offer professional care or treatment for mental health difficulties and disorders. Coaches support any positive change, helping persons in professional care to manage symptoms, build support for recovery, and work on life goals such as relationships, work, and education. Trauma-informed coaching is action-oriented with an emphasis on improving one’s present life and reaching goals for the future.

Life coaches with trauma-informed training use a partnership model wherein the client is considered to be the expert on his or her life, the one who decides what is worth doing, while the coach provides expertise in supporting successful change. Coaching from a trauma-informed background focuses on achieving any goals important to the client, not just recovery-related goals. Coaching from a trauma-informed background emphasizes honoring values and making principle-based decisions, creating a clear plan of action, and using current strengths to reach future goals. The coach provides accountability to help the client stay on track.


Trauma can profoundly impact a person’s emotional, mental, and physical health and influence how they interact with the world and themselves.

Trauma-informed coaches are specialized in spotting signs of trauma and creating safe havens for healing and hope — a much-needed skill as a coach.

A coach who is untrained in recognizing trauma-related issues in their sessions may face the following challenges:

  • Risk of re-traumatizing your clients
  • Overlooking crucial signs and symptoms
  • Reducing your clients to mere statistics
  • Contributing to marginalization


Many ask what the difference is between counseling and coaching.

There is a clear distinction between professional mental health services and life coaching. While both life coaches and mental health professionals seek to improve client wellness, educational and licensure requirements set the two apart. Coaches do not diagnose or treat mental-health-related disorders, but mental health professionals often do. While therapy focuses on mental health, abetting distress, and improving impaired functioning; life coaching focuses on setting and achieving goals.


This course is for coaches who may be:

  • Unsure about how to handle trauma-related issues in coaching sessions
  • Wanting to add a trauma-informed approach to their coaching practice
  • Uncertain about how coaching may affect clients who have experienced trauma
  • Struggling to create a safe and supportive space for all clients

Note: Coaches should be able to recognize when their clients require specialized mental health care and refer them to the appropriate professionals.

“AACC has trained thousands of coaches throughout the years and is now excited to help train coaches to be effective in helping those who have experienced one of the greatest issues facing Churches and communities around the world – trauma. Now, more than ever is the time for trained and specialized Christian coaches to meet the growing need for services.

Dr. Tim Clinton

President, American Association of Christian Counselors

Industry-Leading Faculty

Fredrica Brooks Davis, Psy.D. 

Fredrica Brooks Davis, Psy.D. 

Shannae Anderson, Ph.D.

Shannae Anderson, Ph.D.

Jennifer Ellers, M.A.

Jennifer Ellers, M.A.

Mark Crear, Ph.D.

Mark Crear, Ph.D.

Curt Thompson, M.D.

Curt Thompson, M.D.

Georgia Shaffer, M.A.

Georgia Shaffer, M.A.

Dina Jones, M.A.

Dina Jones, M.A.

Leslie Vernick, M.A. 

Leslie Vernick, M.A. 

Kevin Ellers, D.Min.

Kevin Ellers, D.Min.

Christy Johnson, MBA

Christy Johnson, MBA