The fear that comes from undergoing a traumatic event does not end with the experience . Trauma affects people differently, and the pace and way in which one’s trauma recovery progresses can vary.

In this article, we will discuss the development of PTSD and what to expect during the three stages of trauma recovery.



Trauma is the psychological result of experiencing or witnessing a horrible event such as

  • An accident
  • Violence
  • Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
  • A natural disaster
  • Combat
  • A sudden or extreme loss

Trauma does not discriminate based on gender, age, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 6 out of every 10 men, and 5 out of every 10 women experience some form of trauma in their lives.

Some are able to work through their trauma experience, but it is very common to develop PTSD after going through one or more of the above traumatic experiences.




Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, can begin just days after a traumatic event. Or PTSD can appear many months later.

In order to be diagnosed with PTSD, a person must be experiencing serious symptoms, for at least one month, that cause significant stress or issues in one’s daily functioning.



  • Flashbacks or nightmares of the trauma
  • Irritability or aggression
  • Easily startled or fearful
  • Insomnia
  • Dissociation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Avoidance of triggers
  • Anger, sadness, or guilt
  • Feelings of distrust
  • Fatigue
  • Self-destructive behavior

Trauma can make you feel as if you are alone. Trauma can also falsely convince you that you are unworthy of help and healing.

We want you to know that you are absolutely not alone and you are always worthy of help.




Trauma recovery is not a linear process. Meaning, you can have your good days, weeks, or even months. But, if the trauma is not properly addressed and worked through, it can easily resurface and have a direct impact on your life and mental well-being.

Alongside a qualified trauma counselor, an assessment of the mental and physical state of your well-being can be done, and a trauma recovery plan created.

There are 3 stages of recovery one may go through while healing, which again are not always linear. This can however be used as a guideline.




A traumatic event can destroy your sense of safety and trust. With the help of your therapist, you will create coping and safety strategies to help re-establish a feeling of power and control in your body, mind, and environment. Creating strategies can take time but is a necessary step.




With time and a trusting relationship with your therapist, you will revisit the traumatic experience and work through memories and emotions tied to it. The coping and safety strategies you created in the previous stage will likely come into play during these memory visits.

This stage may be challenging and produce strong feelings of grief. However, it can be extremely rewarding when you are able to take back power the trauma has held over you.




This stage of trauma recovery focuses on reconnecting with yourself and finding ways to continue to care for your mind, body, and environment. As you rediscover who you are and the idea that the trauma does not define you, relationships with others can begin to form or transform in healthier ways and on your terms.



Other articles you might find useful:

What is Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? 

Building Strength & Resilience After Sexual Assault: EMDR & CBT For Sexual Trauma Recovery 





With the top therapists in the DTC area, Creative Counseling Center is the best-equipped facility for trauma recovery and therapy. Fill out the form below to request a free phone consultation. Together we’ll help determine if our practice is a good fit for you or your family. And if you or a loved one is the victim of a crime, we can also talk about Victim Compensation to see if you qualify for funds that will pay for your services. We hope to hear from you soon!