The old saying goes that what doesn’t kill you ends up making you stronger. The concept of post-traumatic growth is based on exactly that. While dealing with trauma firsthand, it can be difficult for anyone to find anything good that can result from such experiences. However, the persistent efforts of scientists and researchers towards the positive changes brought about by negative life events have led them to discover the phenomena of post-traumatic growth.
The topic first aroused interest in the 1980s and 1990s when survivors of traumatic experiences such as rape, cardiac arrest, war veterans, shipping disasters, etc., began to show signs of positive changes. Through extensive research and studies in this field, post-traumatic growth has become one of the main topics in positive psychology.
On that note, let’s delve deeper into what post-traumatic growth is and how one can benefit from it.
What is post-traumatic growth?
Richard Tedeschi, Ph.D., and Lawrence Calhoun, Ph.D. first coined the term post-traumatic growth in 1995. The concept was introduced to focus on the positive traits a person developed while dealing with trauma. Their studies focused on parents who lost their children and revealed insights into the post-traumatic developmental aspect.
Tedeschi and Calhoun find that although the pain of losing a child is never minimized, there are many personal gains for parents throughout their journey of managing a loss. The study found that some parents chose to find something meaningful from their loss. They engaged in acts of kindness, activism, and charity—something they might not have attempted to do had they not been traumatized.
According to multiple studies, people report three types of increased psychological functioning after dealing with trauma.
1. Improved relationships: People have reported stronger and improved relationships with their loved ones after their traumatic experiences. They also described an increased sense of empathy and kindness toward others.
2. Changing views of the self: People describe developing wisdom, gratitude, strength, and an increased understanding of their vulnerabilities as a positive outcome after dealing with trauma.
3. Life Changing Philosophy: A section of people reported having an altered perspective on life as they had a greater appreciation for life and a less materialistic outlook.
How do we develop these purposeful outcomes from trauma?
1. Emotional and physical self-care
Self-care activities are habits that make you feel better and help you manage your negative experiences more healthily. You can get a therapist’s help in developing the perfect self-care plan for yourself.
2. Cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy aims to reinforce the positive pathway of thoughts and eventually allow your positive thoughts to translate into behaviors and actions.
3. Community support
search by Samuel Dickinson It shows that socializing in the presence of loved ones and people with similar life experiences can help promote the post-traumatic growth process.
Going through traumatic experiences is a life-altering situation. While primarily associated with negative outcomes, post-traumatic growth is one of the lesser-known positives of trauma. While the journey may be long and complicated, always know that you will eventually get there.
Most importantly, you don’t have to go through this difficult process alone. Appropriate professional help can accelerate growth after multiple trauma. Getting professional help has become easier and more accessible with the advent of online therapy platforms. to know more about it, click here.
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