What Can I Expect From A Betrayal Trauma Recovery Class?

12 weeks
Led by Coach Cat
Limited to 12 participants (minimum 6)

Why Did You Become An APSATS Trained Betrayal Trauma Recovery Coach? 

Coach Cat: If you have a read of my full bio on the BTR website, you’ll get the full info on the background that led me to what led me to work betrayed women professionally. But in a nutshell, I would say that it came about after I struggled to find a professional who truly understood what I was going through when I discovered my husband’s sexual issues.

I was actually terrified to find a professional to work with as I’d read so much about the hurtful, traumatic and unhelpful advice that others had received and I wasn’t prepared to spend large amounts of money on what felt like a huge risk. I knew that I had something to offer to others as I worked through my own healing and I felt deeply moved to support others through their healing to simply alleviate some of the absolute isolation I felt.

As the wife of a pastor in training I knew what it felt like to feel unable to tell a soul and to carry this burden alone and I didn’t want that for anyone else. That was my motivation to work professionally with betrayed women, that and my unshakeable belief that we were built to OVERCOME. I have survived my own addiction and recovery and have found within me a previously untapped resource of wisdom and strength that I see in my clients over and over and it’s such a huge joy to me to walk beside a woman as she unlocks the strength she didn’t know she had!

What Resources Do You Use To Help Women Heal From Betrayal Trauma?

Coach Rae: Here at BTR, we’re all looking forward to your new Facebook-based workbook study that begins April 3rd, utilizing the popular workbook Intimate Treason: Healing the Trauma for Partners Confronting Sex Addiction. Can you tell us a bit more about that book? What format does it use? What topics does it cover?

Coach Cat: Of course. There’s a lot to love about this book, not least the gentle and sensitive approach it takes to creating new awareness. I love that it doesn’t feel accusatory in its approach to opening up new awareness of behaviors, but rather offers an invitation to take a peek at your own coping strategies and trauma responses, understand and educate yourself about what’s really going on there and ask yourself how well they serve you.

I also love the really tangible strategies it offers. Because this is a work book, there is some work to be done, work that will be challenging at times but that will get results. It’s not the same as reading a book and thinking that they sound like some great ideas, its working through a book and actually applying those good ideas to my life and turning them into something tangible and achievable for my life.

As for topics, this is one of my favourite workbooks because it’s so comprehensive. I mean, this book really covers ALL the major touch points in recovery or healing and doesn’t shy away from the tough but necessary stuff (as I mentioned earlier thought, it’s both challenging and gentle in its approach to the tough stuff).

The first chapter is titled Claiming my Reality and really gets you started on finding your feet after whatever wave of betrayal has knocked you off your feet most recently. It does a really good job of helping you find voice for the losses and associated grief you’ve suffered and gives space to process that. It also covers boundaries, self-care, triggers, our own denial, coping strategies, self-worth, intimacy and the final chapter discusses the ever-tricky issues of spirituality and forgiveness in ways that are both realistic and empathetic.

The exercises in this book are simple and I like that. Now when I say simple, I don’t mean easy, I mean simple. They are clearly laid out and easy to follow and understand. Some are super quick, like rate yourself against this measure and think about some simple things you can do to move yourself up that scale and some are much more detailed, requiring some real self-reflection and journaling on a topic. So, there’s a variety of exercises and approaches which means that you’ll get an opportunity to explore what really works for you as you process this betrayal.

How Did You Heal From Betrayal Trauma?

Coach Rae: So, Cat, you and I obviously both work in this field as professional coaches—but as women who’ve confronted sex addiction within our own lives and relationships, we’re also each doing our own personal trauma recovery work, right? So, can you tell me how this book Intimate Treason has helped YOU heal your own betrayal trauma? In other words, is there one personal takeaway that YOU gained from reading this book?

Coach Cat: I think for me, it was much of what I’ve stated above. I found it so hard to live in the reality of the betrayal that breaking down some of that denial was hugely important. I wasn’t able to find my voice and speak for my needs until I could see and accept the reality of my situation. Coming to terms with the reality and making room for the grief that accompanied that was a game changer for me.

I’m a strong woman, like I mentioned earlier, I’m an overcomer, right, so really becoming vulnerable and FEELING those losses was hard for me to even find words for. So, the grief section was so important. The other thing that this helped to unlock was some of the hurt and loss I had that was associated with my own past. I was a drug addict myself for 10 years, I was no angel but after getting into recovery I had a new perspective on relationships and sex and really wanted this relationship, my marriage to be different from what we had both had before.

I wanted it to be pure, to be holy and now, even though my husband was a man of God, that was gone, a lie, another casualty of this thing. I was devastated by that and it took some time to come to terms with all the losses that represented for me. This book really helped me to expose some of that loss and begin the process of grief.
Coach Rae: Some of our listeners may be new to this concept of a Facebook-based workbook study—but I know that YOU are a seasoned pro at them! You’ve been facilitating Facebook groups for quite some time now, and I’ve even had the personal privilege of joining one of your Facebook study groups as a coaching client. You’ve done a FANTASTIC little video clip that does a GREAT job of explaining the logistics of this new group that starts on April 3rd. But I’m wondering this: What’s the most important thing you think women can get from this group that they WOULDN’T get by reading Intimate Treason on their own? 

How Can An APSATS Coach Facilitated Group Help Women Heal From Betrayal Trauma?

Coach Cat: Community – Safe space, not alone, understood, validated and supported

  • Motivation – seeing other gain momentum can inspire you to do the same
  • Alternative perspectives – enriches learning and insights
  • Coaching – maxizing the experience, keeping on track, overcoming barriers
  • Value – when you pay for something it immediately creates a sense of value and that alone can increase the likelihood of actually getting through the exercises. So often I speak to women ad they tell me “Oh I have that book, it’s been on my shelf for months!” as they haven’t been able to find the time, energy or motivation to open it up and start working or maybe they did and then didn’t finish.

What you don’t get for free is an APSATS trained coach – why is that worth having? Educated insights and suggestions coming from good quality training that really ‘gets’ what’s going on with you.

And how does this group differ from the FREE Facebook support groups that available for women?

Free Facebook peer support groups are GREAT, I participate in them and even host one for UK based women myself. They create some of the things I have mentioned above – community, validation, support, experience and alternate perspectives etc. 

What they don’t offer (for the most part) is any professional insight from well trained and experienced professionals. Betrayal Trauma is a complex issue and managing a group through this type of workbook requires some skill. As an experienced group facilitator, I have the ability to keep everyone safe and manage the group experience in a way that benefits everyone and avoids unnecessary trigger and that kind of thing. It is also my role to keep an eye on the welfare of members and make sure we’re all doing OK. I take that seriously. I work really hard to make sure that anyone leaving a group of any kind with me feels like they have gained a lot and moved forward from where they were before.

If women have questions about the book Intimate Treason, or wonder how this Facebook-based workbook study might fit into their recovery plans, please email Coach Cat at cat@btr.org or any one of our APSATS coaches.

Update From Anne – My Awkward, Public Betrayal Trauma Mess

Just want to give you an update about how my recovery is going. 

Most of you know that my divorce was finalized in February. So February was rough. I went through a frantic trauma mode, realizing that this is real, this is happening, and now I need a concrete plan to move forward. It’s very interesting because God is telling me the opposite thing: to relax, to trust Him, and to just take one step at a time. I’m trying to take a step back and not try so hard and to trust that I am a lily of the field and He will take care of me.

I’m struggling with living in the present. I’m disassociating frequently–where I get lost in my thoughts and zone out. Self-care is also a struggle. I don’t get out of the house much. I take care of my kids and don’t put makeup on or do my hair; exercising has also been rough. I really need to start focusing on self care because I think it would help my agoraphobia. I have a serious issue and that is I cannot stand to wear a bra! I can’t stand it! I don’t know if this is a part of the trauma. I avoid leaving the house so I don’t have to put one on or I wear a big coat! 

In the book, Your Sexually Addicted Spouse Barbara Steffens writes, “A messy exterior does not equal co-dependency.” She also says, “We believe it can be extremely difficult for any professional to clearly assess a partner’s personal empowerment because her post traumatic can trigger such extreme responses that the person may appear to exhibit co-dependency and erratic mental health. Such a person may look panicked, unkempt, hysterical, angry, depressed, impatient, and even abrasive as she sees her marriage, dreams, and life crumble, lost to a spouse’s sexual addiction.

Yet we have found that if we look under the surface presentation of a sex addicts partner and seek to understand the motivation beneath her behavior, we can begin to more clearly understand where the person is coming from. Only then can we help her to determine what she needs to feel safe again. Empower her to act in her own best interest and help her to begin to heal. Once this early ER treatment and beginning steps of healing takes place, we find most partners are able to look at personal issues on which they need to work.”

I think I’m at this point. I have some personal issues I need to work on – especially with self care.

Coming Soon The Details Of Anne’s Story – How She Done Got Betrayal Trauma And Her Healing Process

I’ve been working on my book which will come out soon. It’s in the revision stage right now. As I work on it, my trauma really flares up. I feel my heart clenching up, my stomach in knots, and not being able to really express my true feelings. In looking back at some of my past behaviors and the way I reacted to my husband’s infidelity and abuse, I wasn’t really ever able to clearly communicate what I needed and how I felt.

Most of the time I was stuck in a constant loop of trying to defend myself and trying to gain safety in my home through having my husband change his behaviors. I’ve learned that any time I’ve come at communication from this place of trying to defend myself or trying to prove something, rather than coming to it from a place of sharing my feelings, I don’t come at it the right way. I still don’t really know how to do that. It’s just something that I am now seeing that I need to work on.

Flying Monkey’s, Narcissistic Husband’s And Betrayal Trauma

The trauma has caused me to be so defensive that I became detached from my own feelings. Since I don’t really have co-dependent tendencies, in the past I don’t believe that I was seeking control. What I was seeking was truth and safety. I think this is how many women are. We are looking for the truth and for safety. These desires may present themselves in different ways. I still have a no-contact boundary with him and his “flying monkeys.” A “flying monkey” is someone who enables an abuser. Here is a segment from an article called, How Narcissist’s get Away With It from pairedLife.com.

“Anyone in a relationship with a narcissist knows how much discord one person can sow. A fog of confusion descends and the environment seems to become more toxic by the minute. That’s because people with disorder personalities thrive on drama and division which they create by spreading false rumors with a little bit of truth mixed in to make their story more plausible. They also recruit “flying monkeys” whom they artfully manipulate to carry out their agenda. Meanwhile, because the air has become poison, no one is happy.

However, it is very difficult to figure out what is going on. That’s because an adult who suffers from a character flaw serious enough to bully another knows their number will be up if they do not use a lot of smoke and mirrors to deflect attention away from their own misdeeds. One tried and true trick is to blame everything on the innocent person who happens to be their target. Then they need to convince everyone else that things would improve if this person changed.”

My ex-husband’s mother sent me a note that said, in a nutshell, “We know Christ can heal people and we know he can heal you, so you can do what’s best for the kids.” I assume from this that they think that if I were accessing the atonement, I’d want to talk to them? Actually, it’s the opposite. Christ is healing me and teaching me to set boundaries. I’m feeling the healing process work, mainly because I’m no longer being abused by my ex or abused by proxy by his family. 

The reason why I cannot have contact is because they are too unhealthy. I’ve thought about all of the things I could write back, such as, “I hope that you can use the Atonement to heal you so you can be a safe person to talk to.”

I wrote a couple different versions and then I prayed and told God that I can’t control the way she perceives me. I don’t know what she wants. I don’t know why she’s writing. If I were to write back at this point, it would be from a place of trying to defend myself (yes, I am accessing the atonement, thanks) or trying to explain it to her (this is how I access the atonement, you should try it). But I still haven’t figured out how to communicate this in a clear way that does not include defending or explaining. I surrendered it and put the letter in my surrender drawer.

I think my ex thought the divorce would be the answer to his problems. I think he’s realizing that he has the exact same problems. I still have a no-contact boundary. He’s having financial problems (and they’re not nearly as bad as mine, so I’m not sympathetic at all – especially since he caused it himself).

Divorcing didn’t solve his problems. I wonder if he thinks talking to me would solve his problems – which is obviously ridiculous. I talked to him for seven years and that didn’t solve anything. The only solution to his problems is genuine, honest recovery. 

Someone commented on Instagram exactly what I would need to feel safe: “The worst part about toxic people is how they feel the right to walk into your life at any moment, interrupting the healing process. It’s always so casual and self serving, feigning ignorance of the absolute havoc they have wrought on your life.”

This is how it feels when my ex attempts any contact without taking full and total accountability for his perceptions and behaviors over the last eight years. He’s not humble, honest, nor willing to surrender to God’s will. I can see clearly that he has not changed and he is using his same tactics over and over again. I’m done playing this game. He casually tries to come in here or there and I’m not interested in having a relationship in any way, shape, or form unless he is healthy – which would likely take years of active recovery and therapy.

Betrayal Trauma Recovery Is A Process

Recovery is a process. It’s not linear – you don’t learn one concept and the next day you totally understand it and know how to apply it. It’s circular and you’re able to apply a part of a principle and then you learn more about it and apply more.

You have ah-ha moments – things you’ve heard about for years and finally it makes sense. This happened with boundaries for me. I didn’t understand what this meant for years and I’m still understanding more about them. But I incorporated boundaries when it finally made sense to me.

I’m grateful for you and your listening to this process. I receive emails from you, saying you’ve cried with me and that you have felt some of the same things I have felt. I want you to know that I am so sorry for your pain. I’m sorry that you have been abandoned by the person who promised to love you. I’m sorry that at times it seems like there is no one there to help.

I know that God can see us. Whether our path is the path of yoga (I think if we all did yoga the world’s problems would be solved), or getting an APSATS coach who will provide an immediate supporting environment. A therapist you choose, a recovery group, whatever you choose, know that God is there and He will lead and guide you. 

One thing I have noticed with recovery is that it is important to choose something and give it a try for a little while. For example I tried meditation and it felt good in the moment and then an hour later I felt terrible. But if I made a goal to meditate everyday for twenty minutes, and I actually did it, I started feeling consistently better. Similarly, if I did yoga every day, I would feel better. If I followed up with a coach every other week for three months, I’d likely see consistent progress.

We recommend people start with our safety and stabilization package with our APSATS coaching. It’s three session that are individual where a person can begin the process and find out where they are and what they need. Group sessions will soon be available. Look for this on our website. It’s a less-expensive option. Groups cap at 5 people so there can be individual attention along with the support of a group.

I’m in this just like you. My trauma is still intense when it gets triggered – which is thankfully less and less these days. I’m working through my insecurities and worries and fears. I’m still numbing through compulsive work projects and cleaning.

We’re all in this together sisters, and don’t worry – we will die eventually:)!

Until next time, stay safe out there!

How My BTR Coach Saved My Life

Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery. Today Coach Laura is here with her client, Claire. We’re going to talk about some of the challenges and struggles that wives of pornography addicts or sexual addicts go through, why they seek out a coach, and some of the things they have accomplished by working with our betrayal trauma recovery coaches. Welcome, Coach Laura and Claire!

The Biggest Challenges Of Being Married To A Sex Addict

Claire: The biggest challenge was just the feeling of betrayal and not knowing when I’m living in truth and reality vs. living in a lie. My experience was over a course of seven years of discovering addiction–probably three years in was when I realized it was an addiction–and then coping with how to handle the pain. I didn’t know if I was living in a reality where my husband was lying to me about doing it again or going to group; or if he was late to work was he really late from work; trying to work on the marriage I felt stuck and really needed someone to talk to. My husband was in recovery for probably two-three years ago and I didn’t have any help until about a year ago when I began seeing Coach Laura.

Coach Laura: This is such a common sentiment. Many of the women have been struggling alone, some for decades. I think it is for a couple of reasons. Some women believe that as long as their partner or husband is working on recovery and in a good recovery, their issues will disappear. We know this is not true since this is a form of trauma. It can have some lingering affects.

The other reason I think this happens is there really isn’t enough qualified help out there. I hear a lot of people saying they have talked to a counselor but they just didn’t get it. This is why I am really grateful for my APSATS training. It provides a specific framework to address the trauma these partners go through. To have someone who has walked that journey themselves, who is sensitive to what is really going on with them, and who has the skills and tools that they need to cope with this is really valuable.

BTR: This is why it is so important to me to provide qualified coaching – so it’s a wonderful experience from the beginning with someone who understands them and who has the APSATS framework to help instead of stumbling through trauma and sometimes suffering with treatment-induced trauma if the therapist doesn’t know what they are doing.

Claire: I felt like there wasn’t anyone who understood so I had church counselors, a few good friends, but I did not have another woman who had been through what I had been through who I could talk to to help validate some of my feelings. I felt really confused about what I was going through and what I was feeling, some of my fears. So it was really helpful to me for Coach Laura to still be married. She was the first person I talked to who had actually gone through this and was still married and in a good recovery. It gave me a lot of hope.

BTR: For our listeners, what has your experience been? Please comment below. You can comment anonymously. We would love to hear what your experience has been with therapists or church leaders or friends. Have they understood, have they been able to walk with you? Have they been able to hold your pain?

What Did You Accomplish As A Result Of Working With An APSATS Coach?

Claire: probably the most valuable thing I’ve been able to do was to set some really practical yet powerful boundaries. She helped me realize that I have a right to feel safe and to communicate when I need to feel safe in my home. Boundaries were a huge thing for me.

Coach Laura: Yes, this is so crucial to our healing. There is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding around boundaries. I think a lot of wives have a difficult time naming their boundaries and enforcing them because:

1. We weren’t raised to know that we would have to deal with this particular issue. We never really had any preparation for it. We didn’t know ahead of time; we didn’t grow up thinking we would face this type of thing and how would we deal with it if we did.

2. The other thing about boundaries is that if you don’t have appropriate consequences or effective consequences, they are useless. We are prone to think of consequences as punishment. It’s also difficult to think how to consequence my husband who is an adult; you don’t punish an adult (some may try but it doesn’t work!) Also, they don’t always play along. We have to have consequences to our boundaries that we can enforce whether they are agreeable or not. It’s about protecting us.

I spend a lot of time trying to help my clients understand that boundaries are for their protection and to help them come up with things they can do in various situations that doesn’t rely on their husbands agreeing with them or playing along, especially in the beginning we want to establish boundaries for physical and emotional safety.

As a coach, this is my number one initial priority with my clients–to make sure they have established safety in their home, both physically and emotionally, and it is done through the setting and enforcement of those healthy boundaries.

BTR: Absolutely. Sometimes it takes time and so having a coach be there for you as this process evolves and develops is really important because it’s not just one session and suddenly we can say, “I’ve got boundaries! I understand this. I’m done.” It doesn’t work this way. Hahahaha.

Coach Laura: Right. Knowing what we are prepared to actually follow through with is important. I remember early on setting some boundaries and thinking I had consequences but when it came time to enforce them, I really wasn’t prepared for that consequence myself. So it takes some time to get it right. There is some trial and error. But this is the wonderful thing. Other people want to give us second chances. We can give ourselves a second chance and say, “Ok. I messed it up this time but there is always next time and here is what I am going to do next time.”

How To Achieve Emotional Safety

Claire: The coaching process for me involved meeting with Laura one-on-one for a couple of months, prior to joining the support group which was another help and add on to the individual one-on-one sessions. She gave me several resources and helped me realize the importance of my own recovery. I would read and work in the workbook she suggested and I began to discover how this experience of my husband’s addiction brought trauma.

I really realized how much work I needed to do to heal from the trauma. We worked on defining my values and making value-based decisions. She helped me learn to trust my own intuition again, which was huge, in both the one-on-one coaching and in the support group we talked about finding triggers and how to deal with them through grounding techniques and self-care.

Everything from value and boundaries work to coping mechanisms–I had the tools to use to really cope. I remember once when I was leaving out of town and I was able to have a one-on-one with Coach Laura because I was going to a friend’s wedding. It was her second marriage; her first marriage fell apart due to sexual addiction. I knew this would be very hard for me. She helped me come up with a list of what those triggers were and some grounding techniques I could do during that time which really helped me to heal and move forward in a healthier way.

Coach Laura: Claire did a really good job of talking about a lot of the different things I work with my clients in my coaching, both in the group and in one-on-one settings. All of them are really of equal importance. If I could I would like to expand on the idea of the values. The work we do in values is really important in the carrying out our day-to-day lives and living the life we want to live and knowing at the end of the day that we have made the right decisions for ourselves.

I think this addiction, more than anything else, destroys our values. If you think about if from a wife’s perspective – the things we say we value. We value honesty and here we’ve been lied to. We value monogamy and we’ve been cheated on. We value safety and all semblance of that is gone. One of my biggest values is my family and here I’m faced with the possibility of divorce and single parenting…and all of this is on the line.

The biggest thing I think is having confidence with ourselves, having peace with ourselves, and intuition that Claire talked about. Now we are in a position where we have been made to feel–if not flat out told–that we aren’t pretty enough, not good enough. I know, and hopefully those listening to this know–that those things are not true but they are feelings we deal wth. I really try to encourage my clients to explore their values, to put time into thinking through this.

If we know what our values are and practice making decisions based on them, then it’s much easier–although this is difficult no matter what. But if we know what is important to us, at the end of the day we can say we addressed the right things. I think it helps us prioritize and helps us make decisions. These are the kind of things we set boundaries around too. These are my values and I want to protect them. I wanted to pull this out of what Claire said because it is a huge part of the work that I do with my clients.

BTR: I think that so many times wives of sexual addicts are thinking about values in a different way. They’re thinking, “I want a peaceful home. I want a peaceful marriage.” And the way to do this is to talk to their spouse. It isn’t usually boundary-based. It’s more “How can I work harder to make this happen?”

Claire: One of the things I was thinking about when we were talking about that is that one of my boundaries was that I was no longer going to coerce my husband to do recovery or be honest. It was a huge part of my recovery to remove that part of what I was doing–that coercing him, trying to convince him that what he was doing was destroying the family…I know he wants to change…why can’t he change. This kind of convincing was not healthy for me because it was anxiety-building, it caused lot of issues for me so I knew I had to remove this.

The Most Important Benefit You’ll Receive From Working With An APSATS Coach

Claire: Really just finding hope and healing through her story and the stories of the other ladies in the support group. It is really as simple as knowing I am not alone in my struggle. This has made the biggest difference.

Coach Laura: I really appreciate you saying that. It means a lot because honestly, this is why I decided to become a coach. I remember early on meeting with my church’s pastor who was also a friend. I remember sitting with him, crying–I was lost and totally overwhelmed because this addiction brings so many layers of hurt and betrayal. It felt to me like a formidable task. It was something I could not imagine getting beyond.

I remember him asking me, very gently, “What is it specifically that you want from me?” I said, “Hope.” I wasn’t expecting cures…I didn’t know what to expect at this point but I just wanted hope.

We know this is not by any means an easy process. There is very little joy in it, at least in the beginning. I feel very lucky that my story ended well. My husband is in a healthy recovery but I so remember the period of feeling lost. It lasted a long time.

This has been my main passion–to be able to sit with my clients in their pain and to provide them with some hope if nothing else. I can’t make their husbands get into a healthy recovery any more than they can. To be able to say to them that I understand, I’ve been there, you’re going to be okay–it doesn’t feel like it now–but no matter what he does, we can put things into place to let you be okay. This is my goal. I just want to give people hope because without this first step, the rest seems impossible.

BTR: It is. I think with coaching and with help, regardless of what your spouse chooses, you can have a happy ending. In both of your cases, your husbands chose a healthy recovery and are now emotionally safe to be around. This is a happy ending! In my case, my husband decided not to work recovery and not to try to become safe to return to his family. Now I am on my way to a healthy life and happiness with my children – also a happy ending!

Just being on the path to recovery and knowing that our lives can be healthy and happy and productive in spite of the pain we go through to get to that point – there were many times when I thought my life was over and that I couldn’t handle this. I am really grateful to work with the amazing betrayal trauma recovery coaches who walk women through this process every day from darkness and sorrow and hopelessness at times to hope that can then evolve into peace and safety.

Coach Laura: I’m glad you pointed out joy and peace again because I tend to tell people that they are going to be ok no matter what . . . but who wants to just be ok? I feel like our lives can be really rich and fulfilling regardless of the stuff around us. It can be challenging, obviously, but it’s important to know that with just the right tools and practice, we can live the life we value.

BTR: thank you so much Claire and Coach Laura for being with us today. If you are wondering if coaching would be right for you, schedule an appointment with Coach Laura or click here to see the coaching schedule.

Again, we appreciate your comments and suggestions. Please comment or email directly at anne@btr.org or to Coach Laura at laura@btr.org.

Until next week, be safe out there!

15 Facts About APSATS Coaches: A Proven Path To Safety

APSATS stands for The Association of Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists

APSATS is a non-profit organization that advocates “for ethical care and relational healing for partners, addicts, families and communities impacted by sexual addiction and betrayal trauma.” Like Betrayal Trauma Recovery, APSATS is supported by charitable donations.

APSATS is the only organization that exclusively trains, supervises and certifies professionals who coach or treat partners of sex addicts. Unlike other organizations that focus primarily on treating sex addiction itself (an addict-oriented paradigm), APSATS zeros in on the needs of those traumatized by abuse: lying, porn use, infidelity, gaslighting, emotional abuse, physical intimidation, etc. (a partner-oriented paradigm).

As APSATS coaches, we “subscribe to a developing treatment model that acknowledges and responds to the traumatic stress” found in women betrayed by their intimate partner – they’re husband, ex-husband, or boyfriend.

Betrayal Trauma Recovery Professionals Are Well Trained & Experienced

To be eligible for APSATS training, each of our coaches first trained and certified as a professional life coach by an institution accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF).

In addition to our primary coach training, we’ve also obtained additional education in related areas of specialization. For example, I’m a certified life coach, but I’m also a certified couples relationship coach and certified divorce recovery coach. Likewise, Betrayal Trauma Recovery has trained all our coaches in emotional abuse detection.

What Does It Take To Become APSATS Trained To Coach Betrayal Trauma Survivors?

APSATS training is an intensive and interactive program, conducted by Dr. Barbara Steffens, president of APSATS and co-author of Your Sexually Addicted Spouse. Other trainers include experts in the field of Betrayal Trauma, such as Dr. Janice Caudill, Richard Blankenship, Ella Hutchinson, Dan Drake and Dorit Reichental.

Following our APSATS training, each of us enrolled into the Certified Partner Coach (CPC) Candidate program, a one-to-two year process that requires 125+ hours of partner coaching, 30+ hours of supervisory consultation, multiple letters of recommendations from peers and supervisors, and a written client case study. Several of our BTR coaches have completed the entire CPC process, while others are actively working toward that advanced designation.

APSATS coaches are trained to operate exclusively within the scope of our training and certifications. We’re taught how to recognize cues that suggest our clients might need therapeutic intervention or need a different kind of support than we’re qualified to provide. We maintain an active referral network of other trauma-sensitive professionals, colleagues to whom we can refer our clients as needed.

APSATS coaches are trained to understand the neurobiological aspects of intimate partner abuse. We’re also trained to recognize the differences between PTSD and complex trauma, or C-PTSD.

How Do The BTR APSATS Coaches Help Women Who Are Affected By Abuse?

APSATS coaches are trained to help clients identify other health and wellness issues that are or may become increasingly serious (depression, anxiety, insomnia, etc.), encouraging them to seek appropriate treatment when indicated.

APSATS coaches are trained to assess when and how couples therapy or couples coaching might benefit our clients, neither engaging it prematurely nor deferring it indefinitely against their wishes.

APSATS coaches are trained to support clients through some of the most painful or challenging milestones of the recovery process: STD testing, separation, therapeutic disclosures, polygraphs, family reunification, re-engaging in sex, relapse preparedness, public exposure, legal consequences, emotional impact, etc.

APSATS coaches are trained to collaborate professionally with other members of a client’s care team. This includes interacting with (if applicable) her therapist, his therapist, the couple’s therapist, medical doctors, clergy, counselors, even mediators or legal representatives.

How Is An ASPATS Coach Different From Other Types of Coaching Or Therapy?

APSATS coaches are trained to help our clients avoid (if possible) or heal from the damage of treatment induced trauma. Treatment induced trauma refers to occasions when a client reaches out to a therapist, coach, church leader, support group, or other kind of helping professional — but instead receives more HARM than help from that individual.

Regretfully, treatment induced trauma is a huge problem when it comes to betrayal trauma, and that’s why APSATS coaches learn to carefully and sensitively counteract it.

APSATS coaches are trained to help women secure safety for themselves, through critical key processes. This includes areas like education about abuse, addiction, gaslighting, boundaries, triggers and trauma; deepening capacity for self-care, self-compassion and self-advocacy; techniques to improve mindfulness and self-soothing; and access to peer-support resources.

We’re also trained to help our clients identify their needs, prioritize their values, resolve values conflicts, set reasonable recovery goals and make decisions regarding the health of their relationships.

What Model Do APSATS Coaches Use To Help Women Heal?

As APSATS coaches, we’ve learned to utilize Dr. Barbara Steffens’ signature Multidimensional Partner Trauma Model (MPT-M), a brilliant foundational framework from which we typically coach our clients. The MPT-M is based upon Dr. Judith Herman’s three phase model for trauma resolution, and it highlights three distinct stages of trauma response experienced by abuse victims:

  1. Respond to the shock of their discovery, establish safety and stabilization.
  2. Respond to the grief of their reality, remember, mourn, process, integrate and build a context for this new reality.
  3. Seek reconnection with themselves and others. Re-engage life in an expansive capacity, fueled by the realization of post-traumatic growth.

Speaking on behalf of our BTR coaching team, we (as a sisterhood) live, breathe and celebrate this partner trauma model. It represents the heart and soul of our collective, partner-sensitive vision and practice.

Speaking for myself, I’ve been around awhile (15 years of personal and professional work within this field), so I REMEMBER what the sex addiction recovery world was like before Dr. Steffens co-wrote her game-changing book. I remember the kind of help that was (and wasn’t) available then, before she began training coaches and therapists to recognize and treat betrayal trauma.

In other words, I remember this field before there was a high quality, victim sensitive, worldwide standard of care for women like me. When I say that Dr. Steffens rescued my life with this model, I’m not exaggerating.

During these past 15 years, I haven’t encountered one single tool that’s been more practical, more powerful or made more of a difference for victims of abuse than the MPT-M. I love this model so much, in fact, that I refer to it as “the crown jewel” of my professional tool kit. It’s that special. It’s that significant. And it’s that gift we’re eager to share with YOU, as you too recover from betrayal trauma!

BTR is passionately committed to providing APSATS services to provide solid, trauma-sensitive support for your journey.

In Service and Support,

Coach Rae

PS: Do you have other questions about our APSATS training? If so, we’d love to hear them! Post your inquiries below in the comments section, or email me at rae@btr.org.