Rebuilding Self-Confidence after trauma – My story

By Kate Brassington
choosing coaching or therapy for self-confidence after trauma

Choosing coaching or therapy for self-confidence after trauma? How I rebuilt my self-confidence after trauma, and now help others regain their self-belief too.

Here’s my story. My why. How I turned around the experiences that almost broke me, and now I help others regain self-belief, self-trust and the confidence, inside and out, to go for what really matters to them in life.

Traumatic birth

I was dead. At least INSIDE I was dead.

14 months after experiencing trauma giving birth, and then being on 24/7 high alert caring for our sick baby daughter, I was exhausted. My self-confidence was at rock bottom.

The strain showed. There were sudden moments when I would freeze, and grip down panic. Or burst into anger. Or be silent and staring. I didn’t want to focus on the past, but I desperately wanted to create a great future. How? I had NO idea what I could do.

Choosing coaching or therapy for self-confidence after trauma?

Therapy was not available because I never even got to the top of the waiting list before we moved house again.

And I’d simply no idea that a coach could help me.

Fast forward 6 years and I’m negotiating work hours with a new boss. Before I joined, I’d explained that every 4 weeks our daughter had 2 days in hospital for blood transfusions. The boss was FURIOUS that I’d put the dates into the diary. I froze. I gripped down the panic.

I had to get her to hospital as the treatment was keeping her alive.

I had to work – it was my respite

Work had become my respite, keeping me sane. As I struggled to make my words come out, to my horror, I began to cry. The last shreds of my self-confidence melted away.

I felt hot shame, fear, anger. I couldn’t speak up – for her or me. In the face of his anger, I died.

It felt like he was stopping me keeping her alive. I was terrified. Part of me was back in hospital again.

Where did my words go?

If only I could explain clearly! I was crying out to know how to manage my mind so I could hold together under unbearable pressure for months on end and then NOT freeze at critical moments like this! I knew there had to be a way.

Her condition is (currently) incurable. I have to speak up for her not just now, but until she is grown. I must also teach her how to speak up for herself.

The fire lit again inside me. I found a Masters program in positive psychology and coaching psychology (this MAPPCP one here).

Flourish even in the dark side of life? Yes please!

Flourishing = Inclusion

Deep down I wanted to regain my confidence to stand up for myself and my daughter so I would be treated as an adult AND human being at work. My passion was (still is) that businesses become such great places to work, FOR ALL, that they give a great employee experience FOR ALL. This truly Inclusive approach is great for both the humans and the organisation.

I had no idea I’d find both the healing I needed, AND the scientific evidence-base to underpin effective Inclusion of people in work so that they truly flourish.

Through hundreds of hours of practice coaching, I worked through powerful evidence-based exercises. I tried many many theories out on myself. I read far more widely on trauma than is usual for a coach, and I learnt how to be friends with both my body and my mind again. I discovered for myself that coaching could build self-confidence after trauma.

The joining of my inner world and my outer work

I learnt that the prevalence of “trauma” is extraordinarily high. Trauma isn’t limited to a response to accidents, disasters, physical violence, slavery, and terrorism. People who have experienced societal oppression – someone who is poor, working class, disabled, a person of colour, transgender, or a woman – are also likely to experience the impact of trauma [Treleaven, 2017 – to read more on David’s great work in making Mindfulness safe for everyone, click here ].

In other words; an Inclusive workplace will naturally attempt to include people who have experienced trauma. My purpose intensified – here was the joining of my inner world and my outer work.

I got my fire back! I passed with distinction. My research paper “Can resilience training improve well-being for people in high-risk occupations? A systematic review from a multi-dimensional perspective”, has just been published in the leading Journal in my field (you can read a preview HERE).

Sure, at times I struggle to talk about what I need. On my darkest days I snap, shout, lose it, cry. But now I can unfreeze. I can shift my mental state. I’m not brittle and breakable! I’m softer but stronger (and not perfect, ask my husband!). I’ve found my voice. My purpose. I’m rebuilding my self-confidence, self-belief, and I help others do this too.

Pick a coach or therapist that you like!

In the end I got 3 sessions of therapy, and I felt terrible. All of the rest of my transformation I did through coaching. Research into psycho-therapeutic approaches shows that 30% of the effectiveness is down to the relationship between client and helper; while only 15% is down to the technique used [McKenna & Davis, 2009]. So, folks, if you are choosing coaching or therapy for self-confidence after trauma… pick someone you like!

I came through this wiser, stronger, and equipped to help others

I found my oxygen mask. And now it’s on, I am helping my clients with theirs. Literally everyone I have worked with has had “something” happen. From PTSD, crisis, bullying, to just plain old weary and/or burnt out from the treadmill of life.

The good news is you don’t have to do all that science research, learning, and practice because I’ve done the donkey work! In plain English, with a good dose of fun and laughter, I help my clients learn to master their mindset. They unfreeze, get clear, and voice the important things at last. They gain self-belief – their fire lights again inside.

They are delighted to find that they can stand up for themselves, their families, and the things in life that really matter.

The ripple effect

As my clients take themselves and their world on, they are changing it for the better. This is not a fight with opponents and winners and losers! Inclusion works both inside and out.

When you speak your truth, you open the door for the person behind you. One day, in a few years time, one of those people could be my daughter.

How I help

I give:

Group coaching programs, 1:1 coaching packages, executive coaching, consulting, and I speak at events.

You get:

⚡ to shift from being emotionally and physically drained; to getting energy, vitality, and balance;

💪🏾 from being last in the pecking order of your life; to standing up for yourself and those your love;

💷 from spending money on numbing your stress; to saving it for what really matters to you;

🔥 from feeling that your career path controls you; to gaining clarity, vision and purpose about where you want to be next and why;

💕from being afraid you’ll break down under stress; to being friends with your body and mind again;

📈 from wondering if you can get to the next career level; to making the plan that gets you there.

Do you want the confidence to stand up for yourself and those you love?

Do you want to boost your energy, vitality, and balance?

If you are saying YES!! then drop me a message to or contact me HERE and let’s get talking today.


  • McKenna & Davis (2009) in: van Nieuwerburgh, C. (2017) An Introduction to Coaching Skills – a practical guide. p18. Sage. London.
  • Treleaven, D. (2017) Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness. Norton. New York.