Coaching FAQs

for Entrepreneurs with Religious Trauma



Emily Ann Peterson - 2020 Selfie

My name is Emily Ann Peterson. (she/her) 

I'm a trauma-informed business & career coach for those suffering from the long-term effects of religious trauma. 

I help my clients dismantle the undue influence of their trauma through the practice of empowered business decisions. I believe your business can become a sustainable economic structure that pays your bills AND supports your practice of intentional trauma resolution for yourself (and your customers/clients too!) 

If any of that resonates with you, I'd love to chat about working together. I'm ready whenever you are!

Please note: I do work with business owners who've experienced all kinds of trauma (big T or little t), however my life experience makes me exceptionally well-suited to help those with religious trauma. 

Why might my religious trauma warrant working with a specialized business coach?

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Fear-Based Business = Coping Skills

Bravery-Based Business = Thriving!

Everyday things like finances, strategy, marketing, and self-promotion can feel unanchored, confusing, and scary—especially for a business owner with religious trauma.

This can prompt business decisions to be fueled by fear which keeps everything just "coping along", rather than thriving with bravery. (Self-sabotage, impostor syndrome, avoidance, or financial issues anyone?)

A trauma-informed business coach is equipped to spot when those patterns pop up and can help you get back into "the thriving zone."

Let's replace those systems of oppression with empowerment, freedom, and authenticity!
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Religious trauma can keep your business spinning in old patterns of fears, thoughts, or values that don't reflect who you are today. 

The imprints from those uniquely oppressive systems have a knack of hanging around for a loooooong time. They can permeate every corner of life, including work, productivity, and money.

The deconstruction and/or de-conversion process is not just an un-learning of acquired beliefs and/or logical fallacies. It's re-learning (or learning for the first time ever) who you are, what you value, and how you choose to live it all out—including in your business.

What are some benefits of working with a business coach who is sensitive to your religious trauma?

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Someone Who Understands

Working with a business coach who's also been through religious trauma can feel like...  <deep breath of relief!>

No need to unearth all the old stories or pick at those old scars. You can save all that energy for the stuff you want to work on in your business!  

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Celebrate *Those* Moments & Be a Badass

No more gurus. No more twisting yourself into pretzels to "succeed" or check all the boxes. No more frameworks of judgement. Just you being your most badass self and me cheering you on!

The bonus of my specialty in religious trauma is that when those uniquely religiously traumatized moments show up in business (I'm sure you can think of a few), you've got someone there to truly see them and acknowledge just how far you've come.

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You're in the Driver's Seat

Working with a trauma-informed business coach means that you are the one with the answers, desired destination, and preferred process. 

I won't ask you to conform or live by someone else's standards. 

Our work is centered around your autonomy and direct access to your gut-level wisdom & bravery.

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More Majestic Corgi Leaps Into the Future 

When your business coach understand the implications of and best ways to work with (not around) your religious trauma, your business stops becoming a minefield of triggers. Instead, your business becomes a vessel of your trauma recovery.

As we work together, you business transforms into your daily practice of thriving after Adverse Religious Experiences.

This means the more you practice thriving through business, the easier it becomes—kinda like majestic corgi leaps!

Who might be a good or bad fit for working with you?

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I work best with business owners who suffer from the lasting effects from Adverse Religious Experiences (AREs)—Religious Trauma or spiritual abuse, often referred to as RTS or Religious Trauma Syndrome.

You're probably a good fit to work with me if you own a business and one or more of the following are true...

  • you are a pastor's kid (PK) or missionary kid (MK) or grew up homeschooled
  • you are a survivor of abuse and/or undue influence
  • you are a former member of a spiritual community (like Mormon/LDS, Jehovah Witness, Scientology, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, new age, or other cults)
  • you call yourself an Exvangelical, Ex-Mormon, Post-Mormon, ex-missionary, or something similar 
  • others label you as a "suppressive person", SP, heathen, disfellowshipped, excommunicated, shunned, sinner, etc.
  • you are actively deconstructing your faith (hopefully alongside a licensed therapist) or did that many years ago


might be the coach for you if you own a business and consider yourself to be one or more of the following...

  • questioning member of a spiritual community (LDS, Jehovah Witnesses, Scientology, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, new age, cult, etc.) 
  • survivor of domestic abuse or an abusive relationship (workplace, romantic, or otherwise)
  • survivor of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
  • survivor of Adverse Organizational Experiences (AOEs)
  • former multi-level marketer or ex-member of an MLM
  • something else on this page resonates with you. 


I am not the coach for you if you are...

  • currently profiting from or hoping to benefit from (financially or otherwise) the direct promotion of a religion, cult, or multi-level marketing company.
  • a business owner that promotes racist, homophobic, xenophobic, or culturally appropriative business practices.

That said...

If you've recently left or are seeking to safely exit your situation with the support of a sustainable business solution... or you'd like to transfer your financial dependence away from a spiritual community or controlled organization in the near future, please mention this in your meet-n-greet.

Is business coaching a replacement for therapy? Are you my new therapist?

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No, I am not your new therapist. Our sessions are centered around discussing your business, not your trauma. 

In fact, many of my clients see me *in addition to* their (team of) licensed mental health professionals. I cannot recommend this approach enough. 

You're hiring me as the business professional. I have a BA ('07) with a focus on entrepreneurship and an MBA ('22) with a graduate minor in Gender & Women's Studies, both of which were focused on the study of coercive control, psychological marketing, and the power of (cult) influence. 

Trauma-wise, I'm a CTSS or Certified Trauma Support Specialist (from International Trauma Institute) and I'm certified in Psychological First Aid (from Johns Hopkins University). This means I'm trained to identify the signs of trauma and equipped with tools to ease your experience during our time working together. 

During our sessions, it's not uncommon for clients to get a little misty eyed  (usually this is from feeling seen or experiencing relief). I'm 100% not afraid of emotions showing up, but I'm not your therapist and that is not the point of our work together. 

Is The School of Bravery anti-religion?

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No, we are not anti-religion. We are anti-oppression.

Personally, I absolutely believe it's possible to find a healthy, safe, non-toxic, non-abusive spiritual community experience, if that's what you're seeking. However, The School of Bravery community of clientele represents a wide range of religious experiences and practice of spiritual beliefs. Collectively...

The School of Bravery is 100% against the following:
  • authoritarian groups & toxic leadership
  • coercive control & undue influence
  • manipulative marketing & indoctrination
  • financial & emotional exploitation
  • fundamental extremism of all kinds 
Trauma hurts everyone.

The lasting effects of trauma from any of ^those^ are tragic and long-term, often permanent. All trauma is extremely costly, and not just those involved in the trauma. Trauma is costly, for everyone. The CDC reports that childhood trauma alone has an economic and social cost to families, communities, and society that totals hundreds of billions of dollars each year(!!!)

What's a coaching session like?

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Every bravery coaching session with me looks a little different depending on your needs. That said, here's a general outline of how a bravery coaching session is typically structured:

  1. 5-10 min: We start with smiles, chit-chat, and any catching up of life that needs to happen for that week/month.
  2. 10 min: Then I'll ask something like "Where would you like to go today?" or "What's on your list of priorities for today's session?" 
  3. Using that answer in combination with your initial and overall client goals, we'll dive into the session together!
  4. 5-10 min: When our time is up, you'll have tangible action items to implement before our next appointment. 

I've got more questions...

I'm ready! How do we get started?

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Schedule a meet-n-greet chat with me here. The chat is casual and no-strings-attached. No, there will be no "free" pizza for the price of a sales sermon. I don't play those games. Instead, there will be an opportunity for you to:

  • briefly discuss your career/business 
  • share a synopsis of your story
  • ask any remaining questions
  • learn your best options with The School of Bravery, (even if that means creating something uniquely you!)

If either of us feel like the "vibe" isn't there, there's no obligation at all to take any further steps. You'll also get a list of my favorite recommended "niche-mates" and colleagues. There are plenty of fish in the sea!

I cannot emphasize this enough: I will not be offended if your choice is not working with me. Obviously, I'd love to offer my assistance if you think it will help, but at the end of the day, all I want is you making choices that feel good for you.

After our meet-n-greet, if you do decide to work with me, you'll know how to get that going!

  • Emily Ann Peterson

    “Working with Emily Ann exceeded my expectations and beyond. She not only improved my project tenfold, but made me excited and confident before the launch. It’s been incredibly helpful to have her expertise, support, and valuable feedback!”

    songwriter & actress

  • Emily Ann Peterson

    “Emily Ann helped me work out the kinks while my business was in its baby stages. We discussed business names, branding, pricing models, and audience strategy. She has a laser-like vision of how to help develop and market your creative works for success.

    author & creator of the Law Thriller series

  • Emily Ann Peterson

    “I joined The School of Bravery after Emily Ann gave me a website audit and I was so excited, inspired and motivated that it was really a no-brainer. Doing brave things is easier now because I can recognize when I'm procrastinating, resisting or just plan scared. ”

    author & educator

  • Emily Ann Peterson

    “Emily Ann Peterson is a rare combination of inspiration and practical execution. Not your typical consultant, coach or singer-songwriter, for sure! She has a gift of seeing things and figuring out systems to see them through. She encouraged me to perform outreach (something I dreaded), and I’m so glad I did.

    brand strategist & coach

  • Emily Ann Peterson

    Emily Ann is a straight-talker with a smile. Finding your voice is not an easy thing. Self-promotion is even stickier. Put the two together and, if you’re like me, you’ve created the perfect storm of overwhelming. Emily Ann has a rock-solid understanding of all things self-promotion, as well as an uncanny ability to break down even the most intimidating hurdles into manageable action items. ”

    singer-songwriter, Etsy shop, maker of felt woodland creatures!