Post-Traumatic Growth - Have you heard about it?

Post-Traumatic Growth - Have you heard about it?

Author: Charles P. Bosmajian, Jr., Ph.D. is a psychologist at the National Center for Telehealth & Technology.

In the seventeenth century Mizuta Masahide, the Japanese poet and samurai, wrote:

 

Barn’s burnt

down—

now

I can see the

moon.

 

At first glance you may not see the sense in Masahide’s thinking and you may have to re-read it, but it’s actually an elegant expression of an issue researchers have been spending considerable time studying, a concept called Post-Traumatic Growth

You are probably well aware that exposure to traumatic events can result in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) but are you aware of the possible Positive Growth that can occur following a trauma? Some trauma survivors find that they respond to their experience by developing increased compassion and empathy for others, stronger relationships, and increased self-reliance.  Some trauma survivors report that they have developed a greater appreciation of life and have spent more time re-evaluating the things in their life they find important.  Recent research suggests that when Post-Traumatic Growth occurs after a traumatic event, it may even reduce the risk of suicide and increase the ability to handle a future crisis.

This doesn’t suggest that experiencing a traumatic event is a good thing or if an individual experiences nothing positive from a crisis that it reflects poorly on them.  The research only suggests that individuals who have felt their life to be in danger (who had a close brush with death or who almost died) sometimes experience a long term positive benefit.

Every case is different and tragedies occurring to others, to friends and loved ones or even to strangers, result in few if any reports of positive outcomes for the survivor.  In some cases however, under certain circumstances, people are able to find positive psychological change as a result of a struggle with highly challenging life circumstances. 

It’s an important subject that is still undergoing a great deal of research but if you have experienced Positive Growth after a traumatic event we’d love to hear your story so we can share it with others. Please leave us a comment or start a new thread in our online forum here.

Comments

Anonymous

This is excellent news that I do not get to hear that often. As a caregiver to veterans, I can say these peoples' experiences should be inspirational to others afflicted with PTSD. Many of the veterans I treat become addicted to drugs and alcohol due to poor coping skills. I am willing to share part of my story if it helps as there wasd Positive Growth after many years of poor coping. My father came back from the first Gulf War missing his foot and he had a very difficult time coping. He, like many others turned to drugs and alcohol. Eventually, he drank himself to death. Years later, I found I had the same poor coping skills as my father. I was addicted to meth while in college and I watched my boyfriend die from an overdose right in front of me. I fully expected to fall deeper into the trap I set for myself. But that next day I sought help privately and I've been sober for 6 years, 8 months and 13 days. I now help others with similar experiences learn better coping skills than I or my father had. Sometimes I learn the hard way, but I don't want others to feel like they don't have help. Please read more about Understanding PTSD and Addiction and just know it's never too late to get help. 


Namaste,


Angela W


 


 

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