For many people who’ve experienced trauma in all of its forms, there’s a tendency for them to see themselves as weak and powerless. Part of the journey back to wellness is to begin to reverse this thought pattern, so trauma victims start to see themselves in a less hopeless situation, and gain back the strength in their lives.
One thing to note is that many who’ve had emotional pain can go beyond simply surviving their trauma, and begin to experience what has recently been identified as ‘Post Traumatic Growth’, or PTG.
So what is Post Traumatic Growth?
Post traumatic growth is typically defined as the ‘experience of an individual whose development in some areas has surpassed what was present before the trauma occurred. The person has not only survived, but has experienced changes that are viewed as important, and that go beyond the status quo’ (Tedeschi and Calhoun, 2004). Individuals have described radical changes in their views of how they view themselves, others, and how they look at life.
Post traumatic growth is not a direct result of the trauma; it is how a person struggles as a result of it. Significant post traumatic growth developments include:
- having relationships where they feel nurtured, liberated, and/or validated,
- they experience genuine love and acceptance from others
- they can connect better with others, which can lead to greater recovery and thus post traumatic growth.
Bear in mind that post traumatic growth is not always the outcome for those who’ve suffered from trauma, and it’s important not to minimize its impact. It is also important to note that even when post traumatic growth does occur, it doesn’t mean its ‘plain sailing’ for the victim; post traumatic growth and emotional pain can and do occur at the same time for many.
PTG is about maintaining a sense of hope. Hope that someone who has experienced trauma can not only survive and get through heir pain, but also create positive life changes as they move through their healing process.