15 Facts About APSATS Coaches: Who, What And Why?

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APSATS is 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 sex addiction, porn addiction and related forms of abuse (a partner-oriented paradigm).

As APSATS coaches, we “subscribe to a developing treatment model that acknowledges and responds to the traumatic stress found in partners affected by sex addiction.”

To secure eligibility for APSATS training, each of our coaches first became trained and certified as a professional life coach, through various institutions accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF).

In addition to our primary life coach training, many of us also secured 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.) 

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

In order to apply for APSATS, we first must be a certified coach through an accredited coaching institution. APSATS training is an intensive and interactive program. Our lead trainer was Dr. Barbara Steffens, president of APSATS and co-author of Your Sexually Addicted Spouse. Other trainers include experts within our field, 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 sex addiction induced trauma and other forms 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 Betrayal Trauma & 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: these include events like disclosures, polygraph exams, STD testing, separation, family reunification, sexual reintegration, relapse, public exposure, legal consequences, emotional impact and restitution letters, 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, church leaders, 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 within this field of 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 physical safety, abuse intervention; immediate, short-term and long-term boundaries; education about addiction, gaslighting, 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 viability of their SA 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 partners of sex addicts:

  1. In phase one, partners respond to the shock of their discovery, seeking safety and stabilization.
  2. In phase two, partners respond to the grief of their reality, remembering, mourning, processing, integrating and contextualizing that reality.
  3. In phase three, partners seek reconnection with themselves and others, reengaging 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 of APSATS alumnae) 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, partner 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 to our community 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 coaching (and therapists) who contribute a solid, trauma-sensitive skill set to your healing 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.