Creating a secure training environment for customers who are survivors


Do you work with surviving clients – trauma, negative experiences, stress? If your customers are people, then it is probably.

Laura Khoudari, a personal injury trainer in Manhattan, says it's best: "If you work with people, you work with a trauma." Khoudari provides physical therapy specifically for women and people suffering from PTSD, depression, anxiety, and chronic pain, and considers strength training as a powerful tool for restoring healthy nervous system performance, building resistance (in addition to strength ) and improving the quality of life.

Some clients will come into training with common, negative but not traumatic experiences, while others will come up with more serious and detrimental past.

As people very experienced in learning, people process their own thoughts and feelings about life experiences, conclude on how to avoid future negative experiences and then apply these conclusions just like rules, behaviors, interactions and choices progressing.

Since, for the most part, you will have no way of knowing this story, it will better serve you to work with your clients using a professional, careful and flexible approach to your work.

From trauma to mishaps – the range of negative experience

Trauma is an emotional response to something horrible, such as rape or a natural disaster [1]. In the short term, shock, sadness and denial are normal and expected responses. Over time, however, there is a wide range of reactions to these types of events, and those who have trouble to move forward with their lives have been injured by the experience.

When an injured person experiences difficulty in daily life because of the traumatic event, he can be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Anxiety Disorder (PTSD), a therapeutic but debilitating mental illness.

One in six American women is experiencing an attempted or complete rape during her life [2]. Sexual assault is more likely to cause injury than other events [3], and 9 of the 10 victims of sexual assault are women [4]. Research clearly shows that women are more than twice as likely to develop PTSD than men [5], and that many are unlikely to seek treatment.

If you work with women, you have the opportunity to work with a woman who has experienced sexual assault.

Whether it has developed PTSD or not, this experience has affected the feelings of security, trust and comfort, especially in new or unknown environments. As Khoudari says, experience will definitely affect education, which includes at least one taxed central nervous system and increased fatigue.

Trauma is a kind of reaction that one can have in the most terrible events. There are many other types of negative events that may not be traumatic, but they still feel sore and sad. These experiences can affect the person's thoughts, feelings and behaviors in a negative way in the future.

A recent national survey found that 81 percent of women reported having experienced some form of sexual harassment or assault during their lifetime [6].

Seventy-seven percent of women reported experiencing sexual harassment and over 50 percent experienced unwanted sexual intercourse – this is most of us.

Because this is important for coaches

Based on these statistics, it is reasonable and wise to assume that your female client has had negative experiences that are specific to her body, her sexuality and her appearance.

Entering the gym and working with you can bring memories, thoughts and feelings of discomfort, and that would be completely normal, reasonable, expected answer.

If your client is activated by some people, places or things, can have a negative emotional response at that time because it reminds her of a previous negative experience. This is not only psychologically unpleasant to your client, but it can also have natural consequences.

For example, a recent study looked at 60 female students, many of whom reported having child abuse, but who not development of PTSD as a result. These women practiced riding on a stable bike (physical anxiety) and saw a video of child abuse (psychological stress) while their heart rates were monitored. The study found that women with a history of abuse experienced more psychological stress and a faster heart rate than those who had not had malignancy [7].

Researchers noted that atypical normalization of stressors is more common in those who have experienced emotional or physical abuse. They conclude: "Mistreatment can lead to increased psychological discomfort and PTSD symptoms and may have a negative impact on autonomic responses to physical and emotional stressors" [7].

What does this mean for you and your work? It means your customers, survivors of injuries or something less serious will become more physically stressed when they feel emotionally stressed.

If a client feels inconvenient, insecure or provoked by certain aspects of the educational environment, it will affect education.

Minimize psychological triggers

There are a few basic ways to minimize the risk of activating your customers and maximizing your fitness feelings, comfort with you as a coach and allowing them to enjoy their workout.

Your goals as a trainer should include creating a safe and fun training environment for your customers. Here are three key recommendations:

1. Be a professional

This may seem obvious, but sometimes, professional behavior can be neglected because of the gym, familiarity with customers or comfort with the job itself. While it's important to be warm and affordable, it's just as important to be consistent, trustworthy, and healthy boundaries with your customers.

Bearing in mind that you have no way of knowing what your client has experienced, practicing in professionalism minimizes the risks you can say or do offensive and increases the chances that your client will feel safe and comfortable with you.

2. Be aware

Be careful training environment.

Are there many noise or music? Are there people – other lifters, trainers – or other aspects of the gym that could possibly be considered intimidating? If so, are there ways you can minimize this? Could it help educate away from professional powerlifters, reduce loud music, exercise during a quieter time in the gym?

These changes may be subtle, but if they help your client feel safe and relaxed in the environment, they will improve their presence, performance and satisfaction with their training.

Be careful the comfort of your customer.

Do they seem anxious or uncomfortable? Still avoiding certain people, places or things in the gym? Is it a person when you are around elliptical and machines, but a completely different person around the barbells?

If you are a rah-rah coach, does your customer respond positively to this? In addition to the attention of form and movement, you also exercise caution about your client's vibe – body language, facial expressions, energy level and comfort. If you notice something you feel "off", it is.

Laura Khoudari, who specializes in dealing with customers with a history of injuries, says: "We want our customers to find rest in the gym while going through difficult times or with previous injuries." If you know your client's observer, both physically and psychologically, you can respond to what you observe and make accommodations to facilitate success and enjoyment.

3. Be flexible

Using your awareness and remarks by your client, make accommodations in your planning and during your sessions together.

As Khoudari recommends, "Pay attention to what your client's body says and not just what they say in their words." This is a technique called "monitoring." Many customers will check out their body (sometimes pushing oneself very hard) as a way of not experiencing the pain or discomfort of certain emotions or bodily sensations.This phenomenon is called splitting.We can separate from a part of our body or our body completely.

"If a customer still insists that a move or tension is okay with his words, but their form is subdued or is more misty among the usual than the usual, changing speeds, calls back and finds a different move. to move from a state of progressive overloading to overloading, "says Khoudari.

As a coach, you have already been carefully trained! Use them to stay in touch with your client's workout experience and adjust accordingly.

Some additional things to keep in mind

Remember to use these recommendations and techniques in your practice as a coach. You do not need to take the role of a counselor or a doctor. You do not have to ask personal questions about the harassment, abuse, or story of the attack. You do not have to "guess" around your customers.

All your customers have had negative experiences that affect how they think, behave and make choices. Whether it is a traumatic event, an embarrassment or something, they affect their current experience. When you practice with respect, observe circumstances or exercises that cause discomfort or anxiety or just ask permission to touch your client, you increase the chances of feeling safe.

You never want your clients to be anxious at the session, dealing with what other people think or say in the gym or who deal with the environment. If they had negative experiences that reminded them of setting up the gym, others at the gym or coaching, they might feel vulnerable, disheveled or even helpless.

You want the gym to be a strong, empowering and positive force in your clients' lives and you can facilitate these results by applying professionalism, awareness of your client, the environment of the gym and the interaction between the two and the flexibility with programming , training intensity and goals.

By simply reading this article, you become a more coached psychologist, traumatized! Continue reading, thinking and practicing these skills.


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Additional resources

bibliographical references

  1. American Psychological Society, Psychology, Trauma. http://www.apa.org/topics/trauma/index.aspx
  2. Tjaden P, Thoennes N, US Department of Justice, Prevalence, incidence and consequences of violence against women: Findings from the National Violence against Women survey, National Institute of Justice, 1998. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/172837.pdf
  3. US Department of Veterans Affairs, Women, trauma and PTSD. https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/PTSD-overview/women/women-trauma-and-ptsd.asp
  4. Planty M, Langton L, Krebs C, Berzofsky M, Smiley-McDonald H, US Department of Justice, Female victims of sexual violence, Statistics of the Office of Justice. https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/fvsv9410.pdf
  5. American Psychological Society, Advocacy, Interpersonal Violence, Facts about Women and Trauma. http://www.apa.org/advocacy/interpersonal-violence/women-trauma.aspx
  6. Stop harassing the road, the events behind the #MeToo movement: a national study on sexual harassment and assault, 2018. http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Full-Report -2018-National-Study-In-Sexual-Harassment-and-Assault.pdf
  7. Dale LP, Shaikh SK, Fasciano LC, Watorek VD, Heilman KJ, Porges SW, School girls with stories of abuse have informal self-regulation and poor psychological well-being, Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Politics, 2018. http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2017-52050-001