Seven Steps For Strengthening Your PTSD Recovery

November 28, 2012 Michele Rosenthal

A couple of weeks ago, I outlined how to transform overwhelming feelings. Today, I've been mulling: Is it possible to outline a flexible process for doing PTSD recovery work? While every survivor faces his/her own unique healing journey, the truth is, I think, yes, we do see universal similarities in the process.

First, let's be realistic -- there are many steps to strengthening your approach to overcoming symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. So when I say 'six steps', I really mean six foundational elements that can, both generally and specifically applied, help you make the shift from powerless to powerful with a little more ease, confidence and fluidity.

The Basics of PTSD Recovery

Healing PTSD includes several convergent factors (timing, professional support, treatment approach and modality, etc.) but I believe, if you were to throw out all of those you'd still have at the core the most important element of all: Your own will and desire to be well. This is where your healing truly begins. Without your desire - even if it only flickers as the smallest flame - no one will be able to help you accomplish much of anything. You have to want to get better with all your heart, soul, mind and grit.

Once you've made the commitment to pursue healing success at all costs, you have to be very clear on what you want in your PTSD recovery. Scientifically and technically speaking, your brain's job is to bring you proof of what you tell it. Tell it you want to heal and your brain will begin looking for the truth of that. When you have your brain on your side, the healing job gets a big boost!

Every survivor working toward PTSD freedom is different and yet, so many of us follow the same paths to recovery: Developing a sense of safety, control, release and reintegration. While those are the main goals, the actual work involves many micro-steps that both lay the groundwork for and help maintain your ability to hold onto the ground you gain.

7 Steps to Strengthen Your PTSD Recovery

In my work with clients, I see the following outline support and empower survivors of all types of traumas despite race, religion, age, culture or customs.

1 - Set your clear healing intention.
2 - Keep yourself focused on your goals and desires.
3 - Decide you will keep going until you reach success.
4 - Expect challenges and days you feel like a failure.
5 - Develop processes to help you stay present.
6 - Do the work in every moment.
7 - Let the ‘how’ take care of itself.

PTSD recovery is such a challenge. For far too long on my own journey, I just wanted to 'get over it already'. As if I could show up in my therapist's office once a week for fifty minutes and let him do all the work, I shambled from week to week without making much improvement. Of course, that's not how healing happens; it happens because you will it to occur and you do whatever it takes to make that dream a reality.

While we all know there's no magic potion, spell or trance that can get you to exactly where you want to be in PTSD recovery at exactly the moment you want to be there, it's also possible to find dependable steps. Unlike bronchitis, you can't just take a penicillin, wait seventy-two hours and spontaneously pop out of bed feeling like a brand new soul. What can you do in your quest to overcome PTSD? Pretty much put one foot in front of the other and repeatedly work the six steps above until you reach your very own oasis of calm, peace, tranquility or whatever else you define PTSD recovery to be.

Michele is the author of Your Life After Trauma: Powerful Practices to Reclaim Your Identity. Connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and her website,

APA Reference
Rosenthal, M. (2012, November 28). Seven Steps For Strengthening Your PTSD Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Michele Rosenthal

Herb Cohen
December, 1 2012 at 10:08 am

Cleo, I can understand seeking medication to off set such intense suffering as you express. Michele's advice is to first believe you can one day accept what has happened but without such severe pain. when we are in it , it is hard to see that this possible and very real. Your reaction to such losses is perfectly normal. So experiencing loss as pain is expected. Getting stuck in that place is when help is needed. Your loved ones looking back at you probably would not wish this for you and so in a way working thru is honoring them and on no way disrespectful. Giving yourself permission to heal is very important . Next instead of medicating what you feel, find a recovery coach or a therapist who can help you use what you feel to move beyond your suffering and heal. This is very possible- believe!!

November, 29 2012 at 1:21 pm

My daughter, and only child, committed suicide. The police came to my house to tell me. I went to my daughter's house and the yellow crime scene tape on her porch, the crowd and seeing her body carried out in a beige bag is constantly in my mind. The following year, my husband had a stroke and I watched him actively die, there is such an expression, for 10 days. The scene from my daughter's house and seeing my beloved husband die have devastated me. I had a bad experience with antidepressants and am now seeing a Naturopath. PTSD rules.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Michele Rosenthal
November, 30 2012 at 10:57 am

@Cleo -- I'm so sorry for the truly heavy experiences you are feeling the effects of. I'm glad to hear you're open to alternative healing practices! I deeply believe in their efficacy. You might consider adding other complementary processes to help your brain integrate trauma's effects and build new neural pathways for moving forward. A few suggestions here:…

Leave a reply