The 6 Stages of the Healing Process

“Part of the healing process is sharing with other people who care.” ~ Jerry Cantrell

In times of difficulties, when our vulnerabilities and anxieties start to surface, there is a tendency for us to become fixed – unable to move forward into a better existence. This is understandable for life, even with its richness and joy can still hold us back in suffering. But this restriction, this negative constraint can be overcome. We can create a clearing that recognizes and acknowledges our inner potential for change. We can breakthrough to a new, more invigorating life if we follow a healing path.

If you feel trapped, hindered, unable to move forward into a better life, you can cast off all that holds you back by affirming your intentions to choose a new path. You can let go of all that restricts you and step into a new and more fulfilling life. Here are the six stages of the healing process.

The 6 Stages of the Healing Process

1. Awakening

Our healing process into a new existence begins with awareness. The pain that surfaces in our lives need to be recognized and given full attention before we can even begin to think about transforming it. But this is not so simple and obvious as it first appears.

We may very well find ourselves ignoring, denying or even repressing our hurt. Full recognition and acknowledgment of ‘ what is, ‘ our current plight of suffering, can help release us, perhaps for the first time, from the tyranny of evasion and led us into the mindfulness of its reality.

2. Listening

When we first experience pain, of any description, we must try to avoid the knee-jerk reactions that push it away, out of view and unattended. If we do this, we run the risk of letting it grow. The pain is in our life for a reason so we must be patient and try to listen to what it is saying.

Take note of its presence and try to understand why it has visited us and what it is trying to articulate. Opening up in this way is an important part of the healing process that cannot be rushed or pushed too quickly in order to secure premature responses. Time and patience are needed if we are to do full justice to what can be, in reality, ambiguous and conflicting expressions.

3. Responding

Once we have a clearer picture of what is troubling us, the difficulties that we are undergoing, we can start to formulate ways of responding to them. At this stage we may very well decide to seek wise counsel in order to talk things over. From this dialogue a way forward could emerge, an appropriate route to follow that could help us move away from our suffering.

The Six Stages of the Healing Process

We may decide to reflect more deeply on the issue ourselves so as to bring clarity and insight into the process. We may also decide to engage in meditation and prayer as spiritual practices that will allow fresh vision to emerge. But whatever methodology we choose to pursue, one imperative remains in place – the need for action.

4. Resistance

Our initial response for dealing with our hurt, whether of a physical, emotional or spiritual nature, will certainly meet with some degree of resistance at some stage. This is very much a part of the healing process so it should not play too heavily on our minds. Our quest, after all, is one of progress, not perfection.

Becoming too anxious over ‘ results ‘ can impede our growth, our reclamation of health, and contribute to a diminishment of our efforts. A full spiritual maturity welcomes and accepts any gift that we may be given, or not given, through our healing process.

5. Breakthrough

If we fully give of ourselves, in faith that we will be healed, then we can do no more – we have arrived at the threshold of breakthrough. There is no going back now, all we can do is wait patiently for mystery and acceptance to see what unfolds.

This can be a challenging time, where our anxiety and fear, doubt and confusion can surface to create much trouble. But we must remain firm and strong in our belief of metanoia – transformation.

6. Synthesis

Once we enter into new ways of being in the world – which are the fruits of the healing process – we must avoid the trap of complacency that allows us to slip back. Our new presence needs to be nourished and nurtured constantly until it becomes so much a part of us.

Our familiar companions of despair and anxiety, hurt and pain will gradually, in time, diminish and fall way from our journey allowing us to go forward into a better, brighter future of which we are all deserving.

Six stages of the healing process

We must be committed to working with the healing process, molding its very powers to respond to our needs but also allowing it to shape us in an interactive process of creative development. Because healing involves us in a positive, integrative quest that embraces our growth and nourishment, we really have little choice but to ‘ let go ‘ and trust in its transformative process.

As in life generally, the more we give the more we will receive and the healing process is no different. From this knowledge we can draw so much strength and inspiration for our quest, knowing that whatever heart-felt commitment we show to our recovery it will be met with a corresponding response.

“Each moment we enter our pain with a merciful awareness is a moment of healing. Each moment we touch suffering from love we are healed.” ~ Stephen Levine


Michael Lewin

Michael has served as a Trustee of the Buddhist Hospice Trust, been a Committee Member of the Lifestyle Movement, which is dedicated to simple, green living and was a Member of the Gandhi Foundation. A few years ago he spent two years living in community, in a Franciscan Friary, engaging his time with meditation, walking, yoga and deepening his writing practice He has spent the last twenty-five years teaching and supporting a variety of different groups ( eg, young offenders, young unemployed people, children at risk, children with special needs, adults with learning difficulties and adults with mental health needs ). For more about him visit

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