The Refuge offers holistic and experiential residential treatment in a serene, secluded healing environment for coach abuse trauma recovery, moving beyond the symptoms to resolve the underlying issues.
About Coach Abuse & Trauma
Organized sports offer a host of lifelong benefits to children, adolescents, and teenagers. In addition to promoting physical fitness and self-confidence, sports can also encourage young people to embrace values such as commitment, responsibility, and teamwork.
Unfortunately, though, the lasting impact of organized youth sports is not always a positive one.
In recent years, several high-profile cases involving multiple universities and various Olympic teams have demonstrated that sports can put athletes at risk for abuse by coaches and other team-affiliated personnel.
Depending upon the nature and severity of the abuse, athletes who are victimized by coaches may develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or otherwise struggle with the psychological impact of their experiences.
People who don’t get effective professional care in the aftermath of trauma may experience distressing symptoms for years, even decades. This unfortunate reality is true of young athletes who are abused by coaches. The effect of trauma that occurred during your youth does not end when you become an adult.
Types of Coach Abuse
Abusive coaches can inflict harm in a variety of ways. Here are a few of the most common types of coach abuse:
- Physical abuse – Physical abuse by a coach can include hitting, punching, pushing, and slapping. It can also involve excessive exercise, restrictive diets, the denial of access to water, failing to properly treat injuries, and similar behaviors. Certain sports require robust conditioning regimens – but when such practices cross the line from beneficial to punitive, they become forms of abuse.
- Verbal abuse – A person’s title or position does not justify verbal abuse. Threats, taunts, insults, and other types of degrading comments constitute verbal abuse. This is true whether the remarks are made by a colleague, parent, partner, or coach.
- Emotional abuse – Emotional abuse often aligns closely with verbal abuse. When coaches insult, ridicule, or otherwise harass athletes, it can have a devastating emotional impact. “Mind games” like questioning a player’s dedication, demeaning them to others, or undercutting their role on the team can have a similar impact.
- Sexual abuse – Predatory coaches, trainers, and other staff members can take advantage of the power imbalance to victimize athletes via sexual harassment, unwanted sexual advances, and sexual assault.
The impact of coach abuse can be compounded by the fact that athletes are taught from a young age to respect and obey these individuals. Also, coaches typically have considerable influence. Often, they alone determine who is permitted to join or remain on a team, and they have complete control over matters such as practice schedules and playing time.
This power dynamic can allow coach abuse to continue unchecked for extended periods of time.
Signs and Symptoms of Coach Abuse Trauma
As is the case with other types of trauma, the full effect of coach abuse may not become apparent until long after the incident or incidents occurred.
A person who is struggling with the effects of trauma in the aftermath of coach abuse may experience the following symptoms:
- Disrupted sleeping patterns (including both insomnia and hypersomnia)
- Changes in appetite, and resultant impact on weight
- Vivid disturbing nightmares
- Recurring unwanted memories of the abuse (commonly known as “flashbacks”)
- Drastic mood swings
- Problems with emotional regulation
- Avoiding certain people, places, or other reminders of the abuse
- Anxiety and depression
- Abusing alcohol or other drugs
- Social withdrawal and isolation
Treatment for Coach Abuse Trauma at The Refuge
Our rehab’s clinicians are all trauma-certified and experienced in numerous types of trauma-related therapeutic approaches. We understand how difficult it can be to deal with trauma related to coach abuse, and are aware of the incredible suffering you may feel at this time.
Our approach is one of compassionate caring; we will never minimize, invalidate, or judge your experiences. Hope and support are two critical facets of our treatment methods, and when you come to our nationally recognized PTSD treatment center, you become part of our family.
At The Refuge, you’ll undergo a series of evaluations to allow us to best understand the ways in which the trauma of coach abuse is impacting your life. Our medical evaluation will indicate whether you’re self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, and whether you’re struggling with any medical complications associated with PTSD.
In addition, our psychiatric evaluation will let us determine the severity of your symptoms and identify the presence of any co-occurring disorders. From there, our treatment team will create a plan of care that meets all your needs – mind, body, and soul.
We know that you’re more than a constellation of symptoms, and we’re ready to help you on your journey towards recovery.
Treatment approaches for trauma related to coach abuse may include:
Interpersonal therapy (IPT): Focuses on social relationships and re-establishing normal roles in life, such as re-engaging with peers, participating in social activities, and functioning normally in your previously established roles.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): Helps you to restructure maladaptive thoughts related to your trauma and replace them with accurate thoughts.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): Focuses on validating your experiences, stabilizing your emotions, and teaching you how to cope with stress.
Intensive family therapy and Family Week: Families and loved ones are a crucial source of support as you heal from your trauma and symptoms. Family members may need to deal with their own issues related to your experience. The ability to share these emotions at our residential treatment center with those you are closest to is a powerful technique for support.
We are a holistic rehab center, and we believe in using numerous methods of experiential treatments, including:
- Creative expression
- Equine therapy
- Dramatic experiencing
- Ropes courses
- Art therapy
As your time with us draws to a close, we will work closely with you to create a plan of care that meets your continuing therapeutic needs. Many people continue their treatment in a structured outpatient setting and opt for a partial hospitalization program (PHP). Some people feel that they have made enough progress to continue healing on a traditional outpatient basis. We will set you up with outpatient referrals and can even schedule your first appointment with a therapist. We’ll also provide referrals to local community resources to help you continue your healing.