Frequently Asked Questions

What type of clients do you see?
I work with English-speaking adults from diverse backgrounds.

How long are the sessions?
Standard sessions are 50 minutes. I also offer extended session options.

How will we communicate?
You can choose between phone or Google Meet video chat. I use WhatsApp for clients outside of the U.S. and Canada.

Are sessions confidential?  

I do everything I can to meet or exceed the Ethical Principles for Professional Coaches set forth by the International Association of Coaching. Confidentiality is essential to me, and I hold each session in strict confidence. I will never release identifying information or reveal to anyone that you are a client unless I am legally required or you have given written consent.

Due to my position (social media, job, family, associations, etc.) I’m well-known. How can I be sure that nobody finds out I am talking to you?

I take confidentiality seriously, and I’m fully aware that someone’s job or life could be at risk if our work is exposed. For this reason, I never reveal to anyone who my clients are. Clients sometimes say, “I know you talk to my friend or family member.” I tell everyone the same answer. I don’t talk about who I speak with, and I’ll never confirm or deny talking to anyone.

What are your rates?

You can find my rates HERE.

What are your payment, refund, cancellation, rescheduling, and lateness policies?   

Payment is due prior to your appointment. 

There are no refunds on services.  

To be eligible to reschedule, you must give 48-hour notice. You can reschedule via the link in the appointment confirmation email you received.

Sessions will end at the designated time, even if you are late for the call.  If you are over 15 minutes late, I will consider you a no-show, and I will not continue to wait for you.

How do I know if I need a coach, counselor, or therapist? 

We are all on a journey called “life.” Sometimes we know where we want to go, but we get distracted, stuck in a rut, confused about which direction to go, lose our motivation, or unclear about how to navigate an obstacle. Non-clinical services can be a good fit for these situations. 

However, sometimes we become disabled by a mental illness that is so severe we decompensate and cannot function or move forward at all. A licensed medical provider is needed in this situation. 

Suppose you are experiencing significant emotional, mental, or physical distress to the point where you cannot function well in your day-to-day life. If your symptoms are causing you concern, or you need someone else to be responsible for your care and safety, you should see a licensed medical or mental health care provider. Because your security and stability are critically important, you must never rely on a coach, consultant, mentor, counselor, etc., who is not a licensed medical provider, for any medical (including mental health) needs. 

When thinking about which will better suit your own needs, it may help to think of it this way. If a client mentions to a coach they have a headache, you wouldn’t expect the coach to know the client needs to seek immediate medical care because it could be a sign of a severe reaction to a new prescription the client is taking. Some coaches and counselors don’t have the license to practice medicine or the responsibility for a client’s medical care. If the coach/counselor insisted that the client went to the emergency room immediately for a simple headache, the client would rightfully view this as the coach overstepping their role and taking charge of the client’s life and medical decisions. 

It’s the same with mental illness. A client may have symptoms that could be part of a mental illness. A coach/counselor may or may not notice them. However, it is not a coach’s role to determine if they are severe enough to be a mental disorder and need medical care. Clients and their licensed medical providers are responsible for all medical and mental health care needs. Mental health care providers can directly intervene in a patient’s life to ensure their safety and stability. Non-medical coaches/counselors never provide this direct level of care. They work with clients who can be in the driver’s seat of their own lives and take responsibility for their own decisions and actions. 

In short, if you are deciding between working with a recovery professional or a mental health provider, ask yourself about your current distress level. Do you need someone else to be responsible for your stability and progress? A licensed provider can supply this level of care. Are you able to be in the driver’s seat of your life and take responsibility for your functioning? A non-medical professional can work with a client in this situation.

I’ve heard non-medical recovery professionals use terms like “narcissistic,” “trauma,” “depression,” or “C-PTSD.” I’m confused why they use these terms when they don’t diagnose or treat mental illness.

Many terms have both a non-clinical and clinical use. When words are used in a non-clinical way, they should not be mistaken for a diagnosis of mental illness.  

For example, “depression” is a mental illness, a symptom of some mental disease, and means “sad .” There is a big difference between “I’m so depressed that it’s raining, so I can’t go to the beach” and “I’m so depressed that I can’t get out of bed.”  

Another example is the term “narcissistic.” Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a mental illness. However, to say someone is “narcissistic” is not diagnosing them but describing patterns of behaving and relating. 

Financial challenges are a place I’ve been myself. However, with some effort and some creative solutions, there may be a way to secure the services you need.

  • Some organizations that help victims of abuse may have resources you can apply for that could pay for services. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you need me to speak with them to verify that the funds will go to a recovery resource.
  • You could ask the non-profit organizations you belong to (church, civic group, etc.) if they have funds for members needing trauma recovery services.
  • There might be areas of your life you could cut back on or work a few extra hours to pay for services.  
  • Do you have a supportive person you could ask to help in your life? Sometimes people around us want to help, but they don’t know how. I know it’s tough to accept help; however, sometimes, we may need to open up to the support of caring individuals around us. Later, when you have overcome and are in a better financial situation, you can pay it back or pay it forward.
  • While this won’t give you the personalized support you may need, there are tons of free resources online, such as articles and YouTube videos that address various aspects of recovery.

Be Consistent – Make it a priority to show up for scheduled sessions. Change and recovery don’t happen without consistently investing in the process.  

Be Committed – There are distractions everywhere! I’ll help remind you of your goals, and we can develop strategies to deal with challenging distractions that come along, but it will take your commitment to stay focused and not let distractions derail you.

Be Invested – It is vital between sessions to stay focused and work on your goals. Keep your mind engaged with the process. If there are homework assignments you have chosen, give adequate time and energy to them. Before a session, take some time to clear your mind of the pressures of daily living and think through how you want to use the session time. Find a quiet place, free of distractions for our times together.

Do Communicate – Talk to me about any concerns you have. If you don’t understand something, ask me. If you think I might not be understanding you, let me know. The more feedback and open communication we have, the more productive and helpful our times together will be. 

Absolutely! I’m not a licensed mental health provider; therefore, I do not diagnose Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Deciding to address the toxic impacts on your life doesn’t require that they receive a diagnosis or seek mental health care. 

A client once asked me, “How do I know if I have Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome if my mother was never diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder?” I answered her with this example. When we are at our local beach or walking through the woods, my husband loves to identify the various animals that walk through. Even though he didn’t see them, he knew which animals were there by the tracks they left behind. It’s the same with Narcissistic Abuse. The symptoms in the survivors point to them having been in a highly toxic relationship.  

Most narcissists don’t go to therapy and the few that do rarely stay. Those who attend for more than a session or two go to great lengths to manipulate the therapist’s perceptions to accomplish some hidden agenda—like win a custody battle or appear to be working on their part of the relationship when in reality they aren’t. Victims do not need a diagnosed narcissist to begin the healing journey from Narcissistic Abuse.

Frequently Asked Questions

Christian Counseling

Do you take insurance?

My services are not medical, so they are not covered by medical insurance.

Who do you work with?

I work with English speaking adults from diverse cultures, countries, and backgrounds.

About Me

Bonnie Ronstrom

I’m a certified life coach, victim’s advocate, and pastoral counselor. I specialize in walking toward healing with those harmed by toxicity, narcissism, and spiritual abuse.

My passion is to provide the validation, support, training, and resources individuals and organizations need to overcome the devastating impacts of toxicity and abuse.

Whether you need a one-time consult or a place to heal, I look forward to meeting you and exploring how we can best work together. I work with clients from all over the world through virtual, trauma-informed coaching, Christian counseling (non-medical), groups, training, and consulting services.

Contact Me

What does working together look like?

The various parts of us (body, mind, soul, spirit, emotions, personality, abilities, etc.) are so intricately woven together that all aspects of us are impacted when we experience hardships and trauma. For this reason, I believe the most profound growth and healing occur when all parts of us are part of the process.

When we first meet, I’ll ask about your goals and what you hope to gain from working together. Some people have a clear picture of what they want, while others are overwhelmed and focused on surviving today (an expected impact of abuse and trauma). If this is your situation, we can start with your immediate needs, such as helpful information, clarity, a safety plan, or strategies to calm the chaos and anxiety.

I let each person decide how often they want to meet (permitting time in my schedule) and if they prefer to meet via phone or video chat.

As we talk, I discover your personality, experiences, preferences, and abilities. Getting to know you is an essential part of helping me present options and strategies that will be effective for you. I don’t believe a one-size-fits-all approach works. 

 

Part of being trauma-sensitive is that I’m always listening for potential triggers and roadblocks so that together we can develop creative ways to help you keep moving forward and avoid being retraumatized. 

Trauma alters how our brain and nervous systems function. Even when we are no longer in a harmful environment, having “trauma brain” causes physical problems and makes everyday tasks and interactions difficult. An essential part of healing is helping your brain and nervous systems return to healthy functioning. Thankfully, our brains are capable of changing and developing new patterns. Even though trauma is devastating, healing is possible!

People are traumatized when they go through deeply distressing events. When these distressing events are ongoing (such as in the case of Narcissistic Abuse), the impacts are profound.

When there is stress, our brains temporarily change how they function to help us respond to the stressor and recover afterward. Prolonged trauma causes our brains to take on new patterns of functioning. Certain brain areas become overactive while others under-function. These changes are sometimes referred to as “trauma brain.”

Here are just a few of the signs of “trauma brain.”

Lack of focus

Memory issues, Forgetful

Fatigue, Unmotivated

Anxious, restless

Emotionally reactive

Difficulty feeling connected to anyone

Difficulty thinking through challenging topics 

More impulsive

Drawn toward addictions (food, shopping, drugs, researching, etc.)

Sleep difficulties

Loss of hope or difficulty thinking about the future

Jumpy 

Overthinking & obsessing

Headaches, stomach and intestinal issues, auto-immune disorders

Skeptical of everyone and everything

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