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A Pathway to Trauma Recovery

Updated: May 15

wooded path
A Pathway to Trauma Recovery

There's no right way to recover from trauma. If it works, it's the right way for you. There's lots of evidence that there are more and less effective ways for a mental health therapist to help someone recover from trauma, but much of recovery happens outside the therapist's office. The following steps outline a basic pathway that may help guide your recovery journey. Start at the beginning, go as slowly as feels right for you, and circle back as many times as it takes to accomplish whatever is helpful for you to accomplish. This isn't the only pathway to trauma recovery, but it's a pathway that many have found helpful:

1.        We came to realize that we had changed as a result of our experiences, and that some of this change led to suffering.

2.        We acknowledged that we had not yet done all the things required to heal our minds, bodies, and spirits.

3.        We began to move and use our bodies in ways that honor our whole selves.

4.        We identified that we had lost a clear sense of purpose, and made a decision to create meaning in our lives.

5.        We began to identify the beliefs and behaviors that contribute to our pain, including persistent avoidance of unpleasant emotions like fear, guilt, and shame.

6.        We sought out people who have experienced healing and actively engaged with them in ways that could support our own recovery.

7.        We identified the beliefs that cause us suffering, and imagined new beliefs that could foster hope, meaning, and purpose.

8.        We shared our beliefs and coping mechanisms with other people in recovery, then asked for and accepted help exploring, challenging, and developing these beliefs and behaviors.

9.        We developed specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-limited objectives to a) honor our physical selves, b) achieve a sense of purpose in the present, c) connect with Ourselves, Others, the World, and the Spirit, and d) face the fears that no longer serve us.

10.   We embraced the parts of ourselves that carry our pain, and took action to make amends to ourselves, and to others where appropriate.

11.   Having experienced peace, we continued to honor our bodies, engage in meaningful activities, manage our beliefs, connect, and face our fears, recognizing that we deserve joy and we can move through pain to find it.



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