The AIT approach to Organisational Trauma


This is a comparatively new field in business and organisational coaching.

I have two ways of looking at trauma in organisations. Firstly, as a systemic psychotherapist I am trained to analyse and solve problems in systems. A system could be a family, a couple or a business team. Typically this approach looks at issues such as communication, relationship building, alliances, status and hierarchies. Secondly I have also trained in a particular approach to trauma called AIT. This is linked to the EMDR approach. It is a very quick and effective approach to identifying the effect of trauma on a group. The trauma can be anything from a sudden round of redundancies to bullying in the workplace. These trauma’s lead to entrenched narratives in the way people see themselves or others. So if an organisation is traumatised by redundancy the narratives may be all around fear and defensive retreat.

Some key ideas for traumatised organisations

  • Name the trauma and don’t hide from it.
  • Name the story people have told as a result of a trauma. However irrational this story is, it will form the bedrock of how people think and act.
  • Develop statements and stories that would contradict the trauma based narratives.
  • Find alternate stories of hope and success from anywhere in the business. These are often forgotten or lost under the pressure of trauma.
  • Analyse how these stories came about and how they can be built on
  • Use trust exercises to rebuild trust and interpersonal strength.
  • Work on ways that individuals and teams can be pro-active and creative rather than passive victims
  • Work on communication skills between team and potential sources of future trauma, clients, managers, investors.sad-business-person