3 Stages of Trauma Recovery to Find Inner Peace


Life can be beautiful, full of wonder, connection and love. But sometimes bad things happen that overwhelm us, shock our systems and turn our natural survival response systems into overdrive. Trauma can shock the brain, stun the mind and freeze the body. Our bodies are designed to heal but sometimes the overwhelming experience of trauma feels too great or there has been too much of an accumulation of different traumatic events over the course of a lifetime that we need help.

EMDR helps us release the trauma so we can feel happy and whole again. If you experienced something in life that deeply affected you, such as child abuse, neglect, divorce, loss of a loved one or have experienced a life threatening event, then EMDR therapy can help you. It can get to the core of anxiety, depression, PTSD and grief.

Below are the three stages of the recovery process for trauma. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy is a perfect type of treatment to help men and women recover from trauma. It can be used in all aspects of trauma healing—from the beginning of treatment to the end.

As an EMDR therapist, I use EMDR to help clients increase their inner resources, for processing traumatic memories and with strengthening new ways they experience themselves and others.

Stage 1: Safety and Stabilization

Establish personal safety, self care, tap into inner strengths and resources for healing, learn to regulate one's emotions, learn to manage painful and unwanted thoughts, feelings and emotions.

Stage one is not about discussing and processing of traumatic memories, but instead creating a road map and strengthening the person.

Stage 2: Remembrance and Mourning

Review and discuss traumatic memories, process traumatic material to resolution, work through grief and mourn for what was lost in a person's life due to trauma. With EMDR therapy, transform traumatic memories into non-traumatic ones. Build upon positive beliefs of self which spontaneously occur in the healing process and which emerge during this stage.

Stage 3: Re-connection and Integration

Build upon newly emerging positive healthy beliefs of self. Imagine experiencing life in a new way, including connecting with others and engaging in meaningful activities and life experiences.

EMDR therapy is an effective and rapid method for healing from distressing memories and traumatic events. We do not have to live in pain and feel that our life has been ruined. There is help, healing and peace.

Lemecia & VWS Team

Lemecia Lindsey (LICSW) is a Certified EMDR therapist and Consultant who provides EMDR to adults experiencing trauma and PTSD. She is experienced using EMDR therapy to treat first responders, including those in law enforcement, fire fighters, paramedics, military personnel and healthcare workers.

Kendall Hagensen (MA, LMHC, R-DMT) is a Somatic or Body-Oriented Mental Health Therapist trained in EMDR, which means that she utilizes our innate mind-body connection as a tool in counseling. She feels that health happens best within community, which is why she takes a holistic, integrative, and collaborative wellness approach to her personal and professional life. Kendall is also the Clinical Director at VWS.