Who I Am + Where I’ve Been

My name is Gaelyn Rae Emerson (*), and I am utterly, hopelessly, head-over-heels in love… with my job.

I work full-time as a relational trauma recovery coach, with advanced training in couples relationships, divorce recovery, problematic sexual behavior and sex addiction induced trauma. Within this field, I combine nearly 20 years of personal and professional experience, “down in the trenches” with other women, reeling and healing together from the impact of sexual betrayal.

For these past twenty years, I’ve walked through various life and relationship experiences. I’ve been married and divorced. I’ve been independent and enmeshed. I’ve lived within in relationships fueled by passion and anchored by commitment—yet complicated by addiction, depression and religious conviction. I’ve struggled to hold onto myself within these relationships, often dismayed at the aftermath of my own self-abandonment. I’ve worked through years of therapy, coaching, mentorship and sponsorship. I’ve healed my own hurts. I’ve developed my own boundaries. I’ve even found my own grownup, indoor voice. It hasn’t been easy, but along the way I’ve encouraged myself with one simple fact: Every single one of these experiences, from the most joyful to the most painful, has proven to be fundamentally transformational. Each experience has contributed something of substance to my life—and by extension, to my work in this field—broadening my perspective, increasing my understanding and deepening my capacity for genuine empathy.

Come to think of it, “Who I Am” is mostly the result of challenges I didn’t intentionally choose for myself: jobs I didn’t seek, losses I didn’t expect, pain that I absolutely DID NOT want to experience. Realistically, my life hasn’t played out according to Plan A. Instead, somewhere along the way, I actually began to embrace Plan B. Today, I realize that I genuinely LOVE this life—THIS life, not the one I imagined once upon a time. I certainly haven’t “arrived,” and I don’t know what comes next. But no matter what tomorrow brings, I know that I can rally the resources I need to meet it with grace and to make it count.

Hmm… maybe I’ll call that Plan C.

Personal Roots, Professional Branches
20 years ago ago, I survived a traumatic divorce following my first husband’s online sexual activity, infidelity and abandonment. Since then, I spent 11 years fighting passionately for the survival of my second marriage (which also ultimately ended), healing from the actions of my second husband, a guy who’s severely addicted to internet porn.

Through the abrupt loss of my first marriage, I’ve developed an intense sensitivity to women whose relationships don’t survive—women who heal alone in the aftermath of relationships mortally terminated by sexual betrayal. Through the long-term struggles of my second marriage, I’ve discovered an equally passionate empathy for women whose relationships continue into the realm of recovery—women who heal in close proximity to the broken men who’ve so brutally wounded us.

In my capacity as a specialist within this field, there’s no single question I hear more frequently than this one: “Should I stay, or should I go?” By combining my personal and professional experience (including input from the hundreds of women I’ve known, supported and coached during these past 15 years), here’s what I’ve concluded:

There’s self-love, self-sacrifice and post-traumatic growth involved in BOTH scenarios.

This conclusion is what fuels my conviction that healing requires us, as women, to exercise equal measures of guts and grace, regardless of our relationship status, on any given day. And that’s precisely why I chose to specialize in both couples relationships and divorce recovery; it empowers me to promise my clients, “I’m equipped to support YOU, no matter which direction you embrace for yourself and your future.” It’s a vision initially informed by my own two marriages, deepened by exposure to my clients’ collective experiences, and secured by my professional training, supervision and certifications.

Bottom line? I can’t promise you (or any woman) that your relationship will survive the trauma of sexual betrayal. That’s a disservice in which I refuse to participate. Instead, what I CAN promise is that YOU will survive—and that when your path becomes unbearably difficult (which at some point, it inevitably will), I will have your back. I’ll support you as you impress yourself with your own capacity to make tough decisions, and I’ll witness your growing ability to take meaningful actions on your own behalf.

So, Why Am I Coaching?

The basic answer is really quite simple: I coach because I’m DONE sitting on the sidelines, watching women struggle to get their own lives back. I’ve taken LOTS of formal coach training (see my list of credentials below)—and it’s that education that qualifies me to coach in a professional capacity. That training is what equips me, but it isn’t what drives me. From my deepest, most passionate place, I do this work because I’ve lived it AND because I believe in it. By seeking support from others, I have gotten MY own life back, and that’s the greatest testament I can possibly offer to you. As a betrayal trauma recovery coach, I’m committed to provide passionate AND qualified support to my clients—inviting you to focus on getting your own life back, providing an invitation of hope and help for your future.

Sometimes, it’s the little things…
I’m a woman of passion, and I’m a woman of faith. I’m in my mid 40s (though I feel much older!) and my life is somewhat unconventional. But honestly, that suits me perfectly. I’m creative and expressive, an artist by skill and a writer at heart. Because of issues related to my physical health, I don’t have children of my own, and I’m genuinely okay with that—though I can’t imagine life without the children I’m privileged to know and love. I’ve lived in the Midwest, the Middle East and Southern California. I currently divide my time between Minnesota (where I coach clients online through my private practice, Women Ever After) and Florida (where I’m on staff at CORE Relationship Recovery Center). In these various capacities, I travel quite frequently, working “from the road” more often than not. I’m a highly-sensitive introvert by nature (my happy place is curled up in bed, either knitting, coloring or watching a movie), though I’ve come to discover the irreplaceable value of interacting with other smart and soulful women. My favorite color in the world is green (any shade will do), and I’ve never met a pizza that I didn’t like. My lifelong goal is to “be still and know”—it’s such a huge vision for my life, in fact, that those four words were once written in ginormous letters (no joke) across the wall of my coaching office.

(*) I’ve recently completed a legal name change! You may know me by one of my previous names, Crystal or Rae—but rest assured, you’re in the right place and you’ve got the right girl. Meanwhile, please excuse some temporary inconsistencies throughout my site and marketing materials.

Individual or Couples SessionsOn-screen via Zoom
•  $150 per each 50-minute session
•  $200 per each 80-minute session
•  $300 per each 110-minute session

Mentor Coaching or Professional Consultation
•  $150 per each 50-minute session
•  $200 per each 80-minute session
•  $300 per each 110-minute session

In-Person SessionsFor local clients in MN or FL
Same as above + $50 per hour travel time

Coaching via Email Exchange | $100 per hour
For any client who (like me) “must write what [s]he has to say, not speak it.

Group Coaching or Workshops | Cost Varies
Small, supportive and intimate group dynamic, focused on narrow points of interest.

Ready to schedule a session? Let’s get going!

New session fees effective April 1, 2020.

Please Note: Based on my belief that everyone deserves support, I strive to accommodate a limited number of low-fee clients. This is based on availability, and may not be appropriate for every situation. Please contact me for more information.

Let me start by saying this: I honestly have minimal ego involved in my professional credentials! That said, I have invested years (and a small financial fortune), to acquire them. While most of my clients hire me based upon my personal story, experience and perspective, many also appreciate the increased sense of safety they draw from my professional qualifications. In that spirit of increased safety—a priceless gift within this world of relational trauma—here are my credentials and professional affiliations:

  • Certified Professional Life Coach, Impact Coaching Academy (CPLC)
  • Certified Couples Relationship Coach, Impact Coaching Academy (CCRC)
  • Certified Divorce Recovery Coach, Impact Coaching Academy (CDRC)
  • Associate Certified Coach, International Coach Federation (ICF-ACC)
  • Professional Certified Coach, International Coach Federation (ICF-PCC)
  • Certified Partners Coach, Association of Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists (APSATS-CPC)

So what do all those letters mean, anyway?

Impact Coaching Academy
Impact Coaching Academy was the institution that taught me my basic coaching skillset—the framework and modality from which I do most of my work. Through ICA’s Life Coach Foundations program, I secured my basic training as a Certified Professional Life Coach (CPLC). Next, through ICA’s add-on Key Specialities training, I deepened my proficiency by securing two more credentials, graduating as a Certified Couples Relationship Coach (CCRC) and Certified Divorce Recovery Coach (CDRC). Within my field of practice, I’ve successfully integrated all three of these core and complimentary programs, creating a cohesive, solid and broad-spectrum foundation for the work I do with clients in varying stages of intimate relationships.

International Coaching Federation
The International Coaching Federation is a globally recognized non-profit organization, seeking “to advance the art, science and practice of professional coaching.” ICF is the largest governing body for professional coaches around the world, granting credentials based upon verification of accredited training, mentor coaching and client coaching hours. An ICF credential isn’t easy to get, so I’m grateful to have secured my Associate Certified Coach (ACC) designation in 2017, followed by my Professional Certified Coach (PCC) credential in 2021. By upgrading my credential from ACC to PCC, the ICF recognizes more than twice the measured standards for investment and excellence across my coaching skillset; it also empowers me to provide mentor coaching to other ACC- and PCC-eligible coaches worldwide.

Association of Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists (APSATS-CPC)
As an APSATS Certified Partner Coach (CPC), I’m deeply grateful to have been trained, supervised and certified by Dr. Barbara Steffens, founder of The Association of Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists. Equipped with this certification, I coach using APSATS’ signature Multidimensional Partners Trauma Model (MPTM), a highly effective process that supports my clients’ journey through each stage of trauma resolution. Through APSATS, I also maintain a very active referral network of practicing coaches, clinicians, clergy and other advocates; this allows me to collaborate with a brilliant team of experts who specialize (and sub-specialize) within this evolving field of problematic sexual behavior—both its causes and its consequences. I consider myself profoundly blessed to work within this community of professional colleagues, and my clients directly benefit from this professional collaboration. Most recently, I’ve been elected to serve on the APSATS Board of Directors, a volunteer position in which I’m privileged to roll up my sleeves and advocate for our community in a fresh and influential way.

Professional Memberships + Affiliations

Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health
I’m a long-time member of the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health, a non-profit organization “dedicated to research, education and intervention that addresses the full spectrum [of sexual health]—from problematic attitudes and behaviors to the pursuit of fulfillment, freedom and pleasure.” I’ve attended the SASH Annual Conference every year since 2015, where I both learn and teach about a variety of topics related to my clients’ sexual and relational experiences. In 2021, I was invited to join the SASH Credentialing Committee, operating under the SASH Board of Directors; in this role, I’ve been honored to inform and support the organization’s endeavor to train and certify coaching professionals—and to do so in ways that are both ethical and effective.

National Association of Divorce Professionals
The National Association of Divorce Professionals unifies professionals who serve clients going through all stages of divorce, across multiple fields of professional expertise, coming together in a powerful and productive way: through strategic networking, divorce-centered education and comprehensive professional development. The NADP’s mission is to make a positive impact on the divorce process, through our community of high-achieving professionals. In 2016, I held the honor of being NADP’s first ever OnlineConnect member, as well as the only NADP professional on the West Coast.

In addition to my primary credentials and professional affiliations, I’m passionate about meeting my clients’ needs through ongoing (and often intensive) continuing education. Below is a partial list of trainings I’ve sought and secured for myself—spanning the gamut from week-long, onsite trainings to shorter, online webinars—every single one of which makes me better at my work in this world.

Alphabetical by Title:

  • A Door of Hope Peer Facilitator Training | Christian Sex Addiction Specialists International
  • Abandonment to Healing: Overcoming Your Self-Defeating Patterns | Susan Anderson
  • Advanced Topics in Problematic Sexual Behavior, Level 1 and 2 | Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health
  • Authentic Masculinity | Hawthorne Union
  • Change Your Questions, Change Your Life | Institute for Life Coach Training
  • Couples and Addiction Recovery | The Gottman Institute
  • Couples Relationship Coaching | Impact Coaching Academy
  • Couple-Centered Recovery for Coaches | Dr. Jake Porter, Daring Ventures
  • Dealing with Distress: Working with Suicide and Self-Harm | Carolyn Spring
  • DEI for Coaches | Hawthorne Union
  • Divorce Recovery Coaching | Impact Coaching Academy
  • Early Recovery Couples Recovery Model (ERCEM) | Carol Sheets
  • Ethics of Pro-Bono and Sliding Scale Coaching | Institute for Life Coach Training
  • Finances and Gender | Hawthorne Union
  • Gottman Method Couples Therapy: Level One | The Gottman Institute
  • Gottman Method Couples Therapy: Level Two | The Gottman Institute
  • Gray Areas: Ethics in Coaching | Hawthorne Union
  • Gray Areas: Ethics in Coaching—Updated 2022 | Hawthorne Union
  • Grief Coaching | Institute for Life Coach Training
  • Holding Space Practitioner Program | Heather Plett
  • Life Coach Foundations Training | Impact Coaching Academy
  • Multidimensional Partner Trauma Model | Association of Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists (APSATS)
  • New Ways for Families Online Course Coaching | High Conflict Institute with Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq.
  • Preparing Clients for the Disclosure Process: Training for Coach Disclosure Guides | Dan Drake and Dr. Janice Caudill
  • PTSD: Companioning the Traumatized Griever | Dr. Alan Wolfelt, The Center for Loss and Life Transitions
  • Self-Led Sexuality: An IFS-Based Approach  | Patricia Rich, LCSW, CST-S
  • Sex at Middle Age: Dead End or New Beginning?  | Dr. Marty Klein, PhD
  • Sex, Desire and Attachment: New Science & Strategies to Transform Couples’ Sex Lives  | Dr. Emily Nagoski, PhD
  • Sexual Attitude Reassessment | Institute for Sexuality Education and Enlightenment (ISEE)
  • Sexual Intelligence: Who has sex? Why? What does it mean? What can go wrong? How can we help?  | Dr. Marty Klein, PhD
  • Successful Groups for Women with Love, Sex and Relationship Addictions | Staci Sprout
  • Suicide and Self-Harm: Stopping the Pain | Dr. Jack Klott
  • Suicide Prevention: Explore, Ask and Keep Safe (SPEAK)  | PAPYRUS
  • Therapeutic Roots of Coaching | Hawthorne Union
  • Top Ten Struggles and Successes: Female Sex and Love Addiction | Staci Sprout
  • Treating Affairs and Trauma | The Gottman Institute
  • When the B is Capitalized: Exploring Sexuality in Black Communities | Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health
  • Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men | Lundy Bancroft

Next on my radar…

  • New Ways for Families High-Conflict Mediation Training | High Conflict Institute with Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq.
  • Certified Divorce Specialist Training | National Association of Divorce Professionals