Watch a speaking engagement.

Watch a speaking engagement.


6 stages of

Stage One:
Acute Recovery

Stage Two:
Turning Point – Saying ‘Yes’ to Life

Stage Three:
Focus on Treatment – Conventional and Complementary

Stage Four:
Acceptance and Adaptation – A Time to Reflect

Stage Five:
Reintegration – Returning to Life; Introspection on Life’s Journey

Stage Six:
MetaHabilitation – Beyond Integration and Taking on the Future

about the originator

Dr. Joyce Mikal-Flynn holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the University of San Francisco, a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) credential from the University of California, Davis, a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) from Sacramento State University, and a Doctor of Education from St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California. She has practiced as a Family Nurse Practitioner for over 20 years. She held faculty positions at: University of California, Davis, Touro University, and Samuel Merritt College. Currently Dr. Mikal-Flynn is an Associate Professor at Sacramento State University School of Nursing.

University Instructional focus: Neuroscience and Leadership. Dr. Mikal-Flynn lectures on two facets of neuroscience; gender differences in the brain and exercise and brain health. She speaks frequently on the subject of exercise and its influence on brain health in both children and adults. Additionally, she lectures on leadership practices and principles to both undergraduate and graduate students as well as various businesses and organizations.

Areas of research: Recovery, Rehabilitation, Survivorship

Discouraged with current rehabilitation models, her doctoral research focused on developing and organizing a new model promoting a more productive and positive recovery process. Her research lead to Metahabilitation, a philosophy and system of recovery and rehabilitation. This work was followed by the publication of her book: Turning Tragedy Into Triumph. Metahabilitation; A Contemporary Model of Rehabilitation. Her ongoing research and writing focuses on recovery and survivorship, specifically utilizing and promoting metahabilitation in clinical areas including chronic pain, PTSD, injured athletes, addiction and dependency. She presents nationally and internationally including professional conferences in Hong Kong; Cardiff, Wales; Belfast, Ireland and most recently at the 3rd Annual Sport and Society Conference in Cambridge, UK. Several published articles by Dr. Mikal-Flynn appear nationally and internationally including Nursing Times, a UK publication. Besides her book, she published a workbook for survivors and one focused on their families used in metahabilitation workshops. Finally, a clinician manual is used in her certification courses.

what is MetaHabilitation

Individuals experience crisis when the estimation of resources needed to successfully manage trauma, crisis or a catastrophic situation are greater than resources perceived available. Current biomedical models of rehabilitation and recovery are insufficient. They fail to focus on and incorporate the individual’s capacity for survival as well as utilization of prior successful experiences with trauma in the therapeutic planning for their recovery and rehabilitation.

Meta-Habilitation©, a recovery philosophy and system, recognizes the individual’s capacity and promotes each person’s biological, psychological and spiritual ability to survive but, more importantly, to be transformed and experience a higher level of functioning brought about by life crisis, trauma, even catastrophe. These events become opportunities to creatively restructure the self and find meaning, even in suffering, lifting anguish, fear and frustration and ultimately transforming personal tragedy into triumph (Viktor Frankl).

Extensive research, literary review and interviews with survivors revealed insights into this concept. Troubling and unacceptable limitations in current rehabilitative and recovery models provided the rationale and motivation for a new treatment modality; a system guiding one toward full and complete recovery or metahabilitation©. Stages, characteristics and facilitating conditions of metahabilitated survivors were discovered ushering in a new system of recovery.

definition of MetaHabilitation

Meta is a Greek word that signifies going beyond. Habilitate refers to ability, with rehabilitation meaning to restore or reinstate one’s former ability. The word metahabilitation combines these words signifying and recognizing an individual’s capacity to surpass or exceed simple restoration following trauma and crisis.

Metahabilitation is a concept, model and system of recovery acknowledging the severity of a traumatic event, with its unimaginable spectrum of physical, psychological and spiritual pain, but promotes the survivor’s ultimate mastery over that pain with recognition of insights and enhanced inner strength. The event is a moment of before and after, a pivotal point. Metahabilitation uses that point to build on the inborn human capacity to endure, but more importantly, find meaning in the worst. Eventually to not only survive but thrive; not in spite of the trauma or crisis, but as a direct result of the experience.


I have developed six assumptions to elaborate on and clarify the concepts behind MetaHabilitation. They are adapted from Tom Greening’s 1964 work on "The Five Basic Postulates of Humanistic Psychology."

  1. Major traumas, personal life crises and catastrophic events all disrupt an individual’s status quo. Adjustments of biological homeostasis and self-concept are required in order to effectively address the disequilibrium.
  2. Such profound existential experiences provide human beings opportunities for significant physical, intellectual and spiritual growth and development.
  3. Human beings possess the ability to adapt and ultimately become stronger when faced with severe disruption or danger to their homeostasis.
  4. Humans have the potential and capacity for this resilience.
  5. Evidence of it is found extensively in the evolutionary, biophysical world.
  6. Human beings innately are or can become goal-oriented, possessing an awareness of their power to influence events, seek meaning and creatively reconstruct the future.

Direct utilization of this model and system requires a review of the stages, characteristics and facilitating conditions.

  • Six Stages of MetaHabilitation
  • Personal Characteristics of the Metahabilitated Survivor
  • Facilitating Conditions: Support for Metahabilitation

For questions and comments, feel free to contact us