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  • Writer's pictureShehariah Johnson

The Stages of Recovery After Trauma

Updated: Jun 16, 2021

Dr. Pierre Janet conceived of a phased framework for recovery after trauma. There are 3 main steps.

The 3 main stages of recovery after trauma are: Safety and Stabilization; Remembrance and Mourning; and Integration.

  1. Safety and Stabilization: People affected by trauma tend to feel unsafe in their bodies and in their relationships with others. In terms of regaining a sense of #safety, it may take days to weeks with acutely traumatized individuals, or, months to years with individuals who have experienced ongoing/chronic abuse. This involves figuring out what areas of your life that need to be stabilized and how that will be accomplished to move toward recovery. For example: A person who has experienced trauma may struggle with regulating or soothing difficult emotions in everyday life which they might not associate directly to the #trauma.

  2. Remembrance and Mourning: This task shifts to processing the trauma, putting words and #emotions to it and making meaning of it. This process is usually undertaken with a counselor or therapist in group and/or individual therapy. It might not be necessary or required to spend a lot of time in this phase. However, it is important to stay aware of safety and stability during this phase. Attending to safety allows the persona affected by trauma to move through this phase in a way that integrates the story of the trauma rather than reacts to it in a fight, flight or freeze response. This phase involves the important task of exploring and #mourning the losses associated with the trauma and providing space to grieve and express their emotions.

  3. Integration: In this phase there must now be a creation a new sense of self and a new future. This final task involves redefining oneself in the context of meaningful #relationships. Through this process, the trauma no longer is a defining and organizing principle is someone’s life. The trauma becomes integrated into their life story but is not the only story that defines them. In this third stage of recovery, the person affected by trauma recognizes the impact of the #victimization but are now ready to take concrete steps towards #empowerment and self determined living. In some instances, people who have experienced trauma find a mission through which they can continue to heal and grow, such as talking to youth, or peer mentoring. Successful healing from trauma is a powerful testimony to the #resiliency of the human spirit.

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