What is Post Traumatic Growth and how can it help me
Post Traumatic Growth refers to the positive psychological changes experienced as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life circumstances.
Post Traumatic Growth emerges after a major life crisis that severely challenges and often shatters an individual’s outlook on the world and certain people. Our identity has been challenged, our belief system, our safety and our dreams for the future questioned.
Psychological distress and major crises, do not create the growth. Rather it is the manner in which the individual’s attitude towards the event, that determines the extent to which Post Traumatic Growth occurs.
Depending on the intensity, severity and the duration of the suffering, it is common for people facing, or who have faced a major life crisis, to typically experience distressing emotions. This can leave them with feelings of anxiety, sadness, depression, fatigue, low self-esteem, loss of love for life or specific fears, even after the stressor or the threat has been removed. Psychological distress can be extremely disturbing and create long term dysfunctional thinking patterns if not acknowledged and managed correctly.
The traumatic event is not viewed as desirable, but viewed that good has come out of having to face the situation. Growth gives us an understanding that bad things can happen and do happen. It is part of living and ‘If I got through this, I can get through anything’ type of attitude.
When individuals understand Post Traumatic Growth their development surpasses where they were before the crisis occurred. They go beyond their antiquated thinking and are able to resist and not be damaged by highly stressful circumstances in the future. They do not return to baseline, or who they used to be before the crisis occurred. They become a stronger version of themselves.
Trauma and highly stressful situations can destroy a person’s life if left unacknowledged and incorrectly dealt with. If left unrecognised, the psychiatric disorders slowly gets worse over time.
It is the learning after the trauma that is crucial, that will allow people to be less challenged by trauma in the future.