Post Traumatic Growth

By Jenna DeRosa, LPCC

verified by Psychology Today

Trauma is an experience or event that causes emotional distress to an individual. What a traumatic event is differs among each person. The period after the event is where the distress can occur. Oftentimes this can lead to PTSD for an individual, where they experience a number of physiological and emotional responses to situations that resemble the event. Today we are going to talk about Post Traumatic Growth, this is a different outcome after a traumatic event that is seen as “more positive.”

1. What is it?

The transformation, usually psychological, where the individual finds purpose in the pain/ trauma that they’ve experienced. It goes beyond the “acceptance” of the trauma, but deeper into the personal strength and dependence that the individual finds in oneself.

2. Why does it happen?

It helps the individual to redirect the pain that they have endured in their lifetime. A way to channel that into something ‘purposeful.’

3. How does this relate to positive psychology?

Post Traumatic Growth is a positive experience for individuals. It is when they look at a new way of

understanding; relationships, money, success, and more.

4. What does this look like?

  • Ability to embrace new opportunities; life and/or work
  • Improved personal relationships; looking at relationships deeper, finding joy and love in ways the individual did not before
  • Heightened gratitude, appreciation and meaning-making
  • Sometimes a higher spiritual connection
  • Emotional strength and resilience
  • Greater self-expression
  • Optimistic views on life

5. Post-traumatic growth vs resilience

These two terms are often used interchangeably, but they are very different.

Resilience is a personal quality that allows the individual to recover quickly from distress or sorrow. Post traumatic growth is a mental state after a traumatic event.

PTG and Resilience – A Brief Comparative Analysis
Similarities between Post-traumatic growth and Resilience
●      Both count for emotional strength and wisdom.

●      They are positive life forces.

●      Both act as shields against future stress and worries.

●      Both call for personal development.

●      Both enhance awareness and perception.

Post-traumatic growthResilience
PTG is often a consequence of trauma.Resilience is usually a part of personal disposition.
PTG is capable of changing our personality as a whole.Resilience does not call for a change.
People who underwent PTG have definitely been exposed to stress at some point in their lives.A resilient person may not necessarily have been exposed to

trauma or suffering.

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