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  • Writer's pictureKirsten Miller

Post Traumatic Growth

When most people think of trauma, they often associate it with negative outcomes such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, there is another side to trauma that is often overlooked: posttraumatic growth (PTG).

PTG refers to positive psychological changes that can occur as a result of experiencing trauma. In this blog post, we will explore what posttraumatic growth is, the factors that contribute to it, and how it can be fostered.

What is posttraumatic growth? Posttraumatic growth (PTG) is a concept that was first introduced in the mid-1990s by psychologists Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun. PTG refers to positive changes that can occur as a result of experiencing a traumatic event. These changes can occur in a number of areas, including personal relationships, self-perception, spirituality, and overall worldview.

Some common examples of PTG include:

  • Increased appreciation of life

  • Greater sense of personal strength

  • Increased spiritual growth

  • Greater appreciation of relationships

  • Changes in priorities

While PTG can occur after any type of trauma, some common examples of events that can lead to PTG include serious illnesses, natural disasters, and interpersonal violence.

Factors that contribute to PTG Not everyone who experiences trauma will experience PTG. There are a number of factors that can contribute to PTG. These include:

  • Support from others: Social support from friends and family members can help individuals feel less isolated and increase their resilience in the face of trauma.

  • Meaning-making: When individuals are able to make sense of their traumatic experience and find meaning in it, they may be more likely to experience PTG.

  • Coping strategies: Using healthy coping strategies, such as exercise, meditation, or talking to a therapist, can help individuals manage their emotional reactions to trauma and increase their resilience.

  • Personality traits: Research suggests that certain personality traits, such as optimism and openness to experience, may make individuals more likely to experience PTG after trauma.

Fostering PTG While PTG can occur naturally, there are also things that individuals can do to foster it. Some strategies that may be helpful include:

  • Seek social support: Connecting with others who have experienced similar traumas can help individuals feel less alone and increase their sense of community.

  • Engage in self-reflection: Taking time to reflect on one’s traumatic experience and process emotions related to it can help individuals find meaning and purpose in their suffering.

  • Practice self-care: Engaging in activities that promote physical and emotional well-being, such as exercise or mindfulness meditation, can help individuals manage their emotions and increase their resilience.

  • Seek professional help: Working with a therapist who specialises in trauma can help individuals process their experiences and develop healthy coping strategies.

To sum up: PTG is a concept that refers to positive changes that can occur as a result of experiencing trauma. While not everyone who experiences trauma will experience PTG, there are a number of factors that can contribute to it, including social support, meaning-making, healthy coping strategies, and certain personality traits. Individuals can also take steps to foster PTG, such as seeking social support, engaging in self-reflection, practicing self-care, and seeking professional help. By understanding the potential for growth after trauma, individuals can find hope and meaning in the face of adversity.

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