Hi, I’m Sherry
After experiencing a full on breakdown due to prolonged stress and unprocessed trauma, I was forced to put my life on hold so I could focus on healing my nervous system and rewiring my brain. Initially it was devastating; I thought that I would never recover my executive functions! It was bad enough to feel like I could no longer be the kind of professional I spent my life defining myself to be, but on top of that, feeling like a failed parent was utterly soul destroying. Recovering from that breakdown and finding myself again was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I often wish I knew then what I know now. But I know now that we all have our journey to take; that’s how we grow and evolve.
I want to help people BEFORE they hit that wall.
Now a complex trauma recovery coach for parents, I am passionate about helping parents around the world find peace with the past, hope for the future, and flow in the present. There is nothing wrong with you, you have legitimate reasons for feeling the overwhelm, and you are perfectly capable of building the future that you wish to live. Sometimes we just need a little help and a different perspective.
My approach is very down-to-earth, customized, and practical. My clients work on one small thing at time, creating subtle but deep shifts in their lives. We focus on sustainable and flexible approaches that positively impact their relationships with their children and partners. I also work with perfectionists who are not parents, high achievers who are finding it difficult to feel satisfied with life, despite outwardly appearing to be successful.
Married, mother of two, I have had nearly 10 years of experience working in Asia and 20 years of management in a rigorous Canadian post-secondary institution, focused on student success and retention.
My super practical approach takes into account your goals, values, circumstances, and resources (time, finances, and energy). Sessions with me are about meeting you where you are, whatever stage you’re at, to get you to a place where you can face your challenges without the crippling self-bashing toxic shame.
Build a team around you to support you to success.
I would be honoured to be on your team. Together, we take into account the trauma and stresses you’ve endured, build on your wins (you have a lot more than you realize, I promise), and help you find your footing back on your journey of healing and growth.
You can do this.
Starting with the Why
As a Sandwich Parent, Third Culture Kid, Recovering Shouldaholic, and Untigering Mom, I am passionate about helping people remove that extra layer of stress that can debilitate us and prevent us from living life with flow. Unencumbered by our Shouldaholic tendencies (trauma self, inner child with unprocessed childhood wounds), we can accomplish a lot, live happily in the moment, and work with the universe rather than against.
Who Can I Help?
My target clients are those who intellectually know that they would like to do things differently. Often, they have already done courses, read books, done therapy… and they have done a lot of work. However, they are still struggling to feel satisfied with how they are living their lives. It’s a matter of aligning what they intellectually have learned into day to day practice. In fact, initial Doing the Work may actually increase their stress as they struggle with new expectations of what CAN BE versus what they think they are now DOING WRONG!
Sandwich Parenting is about becoming aware of the parenting playbook we inherited, doing inner work to heal past traumas, and creating our own unique parenting approach based on the available resources (time, money, energy, headspace) at the time. It is a no-blame, no-shame, one-step-at-a-time, we-start-where-we-start approach.
Recovering Shouldaholic is about becoming aware of how our internal chatter may no longer be serving our goals and priorities and then creating a holistic approach to living the life that we aspire to live. It is about freedom from inherited pressures to be anything that we did not intentionally decide for ourselves. While our perfectionism might have helped us survive challenging times of our lives or even propel us forward in our career, this superpower becomes counterproductive when overused.
If this resonates with you, please feel free to contact me to explore to see if I’m the one who can help you through this next phase of growth in your life. You can book an Informational Chat. If I’m not the one, no worries, I am a part of networks of many other professionals who may be able to help you.
What’s the Difference Between Sandwich Generation and Sandwich Parenting?
The Sandwich Generation pertains to those taking care of the previous generation as well as the next generation. Sandwich Parenting is focused on said sandwiched parent and unpacking their childhood experience being parented so that they can be free to create an empowered parenting approach that works for them as they support their children in growth, development, and success.
This can get tricky (emotionally triggering) if dealing daily with multiple responsibilities for caregiving as well as unresolved childhood traumas. Work may also be a source of unconscious triggers for many people with complex trauma, due to impact on the development of the brain and nervous system.
What is a Parent Coach?
A parent coach is a peer parent who believes that the client has their own unique answers and may need support seeking information or seeing different perspectives in order to be the parent that their children deserve. Certified through the Jai Institute for Parenting, parent coaches train to use a peaceful, loving and effective parenting method emphasizing cooperation, awareness and harmony.
A parent coach helps a client get unstuck by focusing in on the impact of their beliefs by asking thought-provoking questions and focusing on client-led solutions. The coach partners with the client to co-create a space where the client can feel hope that things can change, have faith that experiencing discomfort is part of the process towards their goals, and develop tools (based on their unique resources and lived experiences) to get through to the other side.
A parent coach is great if they spark a light for the client to see that they can go where they want to go. An experienced coach can skillfully lead a client into a mind shift, e.g. turning a trigger from an overwhelmingly negative feeling to an opportunity for curiosity, bravery, and honesty.
When we are stuck in a deep hole worried that we will never get out of that hole, a coach is right in there with you, helping you find the specific strategies and tools that will work for you.
My assumption is that you can do this, that you have the answers that work for you, and that you aren’t broken or in need of fixing. I’m here to facilitate the work that you may not have the headspace to sort out – yet, but will!
What is a Trauma Recovery Coach?
Certified Trauma Recovery Coaches are rigorously trained and certified through the International Association of Trauma Recovery Coaching, adhering to a stringent Code of Ethics. We work with trauma survivors as peers, mentors, guides and educators with the goal of helping their clients understand the recovery process, reconnect with themselves and the world while using their strengths to build a life they love living.
A coach comes alongside their client to brainstorm, provide information, and examine potential decisions. We know that you are the expert of your life, your circumstances, and the set of personalities you must engage with. Through reflection, unpacking, reframing, and practice, clients can make small shifts in mindset that add up to huge relief as they face challenges with hope and faith, knowing that they are capable, that they have been successful, and that they will get where they need to go.
“A trauma recovery coach is a mental health professional that uses coaching and co-regulation as a modality to support clients in their recovery.”~ Bobbi Parish (Executive Director, International Association of Trauma Recovery Coaching)
What is complex trauma?
Trauma can develop after a distinct traumatic experience. It occurs when the brain and body are so overwhelmed that they have a hard time easing out of “fight, flight, or freeze” mode, can easily get triggered into fight/flight/freeze, and find it difficult to return to a relaxed state. While trauma usually refers to a single incident, complex trauma refers to a series of traumatic events that take place over a long period of time.
Complex trauma usually results from situations where you feel an ongoing and overwhelming sense of fear, helplessness, or powerlessness over an extended period of time, with belief that you are unable to escape it. It usually stems from trauma (in the form of abuse or neglect) you experienced in childhood, though it can develop from trauma in adulthood as well.
Complex trauma causes emotional flashbacks for people, whose bodies then gets reminded of the past situation and get triggered into reacting in as if they were IN THAT PAST SITUATION.
For many overwhelmed parents suffering from complex trauma, emotional flashbacks can cause over-reactions to very normal children’s behaviours. This could feel like rage over spilt milk or resentment over ‘poor’ behaviour. Complex trauma can get passed on from one generation to the next unconsciously, and unintentionally unless someone chooses to heal and end the cycle.
What does a typical coaching session look like?
Coaching is a very client-led activity and it’s all about what your goals are, what your resources are (time and energy are relevant), the gap between your expectations and reality, and the extra layer of your internal chatter about that gap. Most of my clients struggle with “Shouldaholicism” where all decisions, thoughts, and actions get filtered through the judgmental trauma lens of should/should not.
My sessions usually start off with a grounding exercise to get us both into the headspace of the here and now. This is entirely optional, but the people I worked with have found that doing a grounding exercise before we start can help with focus and being more mindfully present.
Next, we set an intention for our time together. From time to time, there may be an issue or decision that a client wants to focus on for unpacking. Often after a few sessions, many clients tell me that they want to continue the unpacking and rebraiding that we are doing because they can see the progress in many aspects of their lives. There is no pressure to have a specific goal, timeline, or approach to achieve it. This relief from pressure, ironically, has led to more breakthroughs and in shorter times than clients have thought possible.
The core of the session is about what is coming up for the client, perhaps taking an incident during the week or reviewing a topic from the previous session. The conversation is client-led sprinkled with my checking in (to reflect, reframe, or help connect the dots). Everyone’s journey is unique as is the stage of our healing. There is no set outcome, but a focus on awareness, values, decision-making processes, emotional literacy, and safety. The result is that we co-create an evolving and expansive approach that is uniquely yours and based on who are you and your previous successes in life.
As we get closer to the end of the session, we loop back to do a check to see how you are feeling and what the takeaways are.
What is group coaching like?
The group coaching modality is an empowering healing modality. Together, we co-create an emotionally safe environment in which to share, unpack, process, and heal.
Facilitated by a certified trauma recovery coach, participants learn about relational engagement by observing and practicing trauma-informed communication in a group of likeminded people. We practice slowing down trigger moments, pausing, and choosing not to spiral. We hear about the journeys of fellow participants and learn from each other.
The live group coaching calls include coaching with Sherry as well as breakout group support sessions with fellow participants. We heal together from societal expectations and neurotic perfectionism, by drawing on the power of community and safe relationships.