Athena Moberg, my wonderful co-founder and partner in Trauma Recovery University, and I are both trauma survivors and Trauma Recovery Coaches. We have worked, separately, for the last several years to research and define the process a survivor goes through after suffering trauma. For the last year we have coordinated our work to formulate a model demonstrating the typical human response to trauma. This is not just a model for recovery, although it encompasses recovery. It is a model for how people respond to trauma.
After we experience our initial trauma, called the Anchor Trauma, there are five categories of response that we can work our way through: Denial, Chaos, Recovery, Reclamation and Advocacy. Not everyone moves through each stage. Some people will stay stuck in a stage, such as Denial, their entire life. Others will never progress past Recovery. It is very typical for survivors to re-cycle through the model, especially if they experience another traumatic event.
We have developed this model because we could not find a comprehensive trauma response model in the literature that we, as both survivors and helping professionals, felt accurately portrayed the survivor's experience. We formulated this model to both guide our work and to educate and empower survivors through their recovery.