It's sadly not surprising that it does not take much for Dayne to fill me in on the emotional wear and tear traders face in today's grueling digital age. "Everybody is feeling terrible pressure in the commoditization of trading," she said. "The number of trades. The amount of information traders are expected to manage." Traders today suffer from loneliness and an almost relentless pressure to perform from spouses and bosses. And they're on an almost inhumanly short lease when it comes to mistakes.
Dayne, who like me is self-taught, has no advanced degrees in mental health, economics or financial modeling. Essentially, what she has done through two and a half decades of trial and error is develop an every-trader's riff on the complex field of neurolinguistics. That's the science of gaining a picture of our minds by how we use language. What happens, she says, is our minds are triggered by a past trauma to conjure up a dire situation that is not actually happening. "The mind is trying to protect us by reminding us when we got hurt. For traders, that usually is some dollar threshold loss," she told me. "When that past pain is triggered by current events, you get blocked to the market as they are." She uses basic occupational, taxonomic and movement therapy to address those past traumas. She argues this approach can expedite results over traditional cognitive and pharmaceutical remedies. And, at least according to the traders I spoke with, there is a real benefit. "It's not like she's a shrink," said a trader, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of perceptions that outside advice weakened his value to his clients. "It's about not letting those skeletons creep back in." A trader's lifeline
For sure, trading coaches such as Dayne raise serious issues. Though passionate, her autodidact nature can feel less than rigorous for those with backgrounds in mainstream mental illness. And traders should understand she has had bad days in the markets. Three times in the past 10 years she has faced significant losses with her trading. "Those losses gave me the insight into the emotion all traders go through," she said. "Tiger Woods' swing coach does not play on the tour. I'm a coach first and a trader second." Regardless, for information-overloaded traders seeking cover in today's digital storm, she, and coaches like her, offer a much needed lifeline to humanity. "I love being able to get in there and help these people," she told me. "That's the rush I get when one of my clients gets unblocked."