What is Post-Traumatic Growth

When you think of resilience, what comes to mind?

How is it that some people seem to just bounce back faster than others? In fact, some people appear to grow and flourish despite the setbacks. So what are the conditions that make that possible? And can it be taught?

Following a traumatic or distressing event, some people encounter flashbacks and profound feelings of survivor’s guilt. However, there are those who not only survive trauma but also undergo positive transformation: they develop a renewed appreciation for life, discover newfound inner strength and a new focus on helping others.

This transformative process is known as Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG).


Understanding Post-Traumatic Growth

Post-traumatic growth (PTG) refers to the positive changes that can occur after going through a difficult experience. 

Tedeschi et al. (2018) defined PTG as a “positive psychological changes experienced as a result of the struggle with trauma or highly challenging situations”.

Coined by two psychologists in the 1990s, PTG describes how people who endure psychological struggle following adversity can often see positive growth afterwards. They gain insights into themselves, their relationships, their worldview, and their approach to life in the aftermath of trauma.

Although often thought of as the same thing, PTG and resilience are distinct concepts.

Resilience is the personal attribute or ability to bounce back.

On the other hand, PTG—Post-Traumatic Growth—occurs when individuals who typically struggle to recover from traumatic experiences confront challenges that profoundly challenge their core beliefs. This can lead to an enduring psychological struggle, such as post-traumatic stress, followed by eventual personal growth. According to psychologists, achieving post-traumatic growth requires considerable time, personal struggle, and energy. 

Resilience vs Post-traumatic Growth

People who already possess resilience before experiencing trauma typically do not undergo PTG. This is because resilient people are less likely to be deeply shaken by such events and therefore do not need to seek a new belief system.

Less resilient people, on the other hand, may go through post-traumatic stress and confusion as they try to understand why this terrible thing has happened to them and what it means for their worldview.

Ideally, one would want to be resilient. But why do some people become more resilient than others?

Being resilient means being able to manage your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in a healthy way, supporting your overall well-being after trauma. It’s your ability to bounce back quickly after you experience difficulties or trauma in life

We’re not born being resilient. Resilience is a skill and it can be acquired throughout life, but it’s usually largely defined by our childhood experiences

Resilience is not innate; rather, it is a skill that can be cultivated throughout life, largely influenced by childhood experiences. People who struggle to bounce back may have endured numerous traumatic experiences or emotional concussions during their formative years, making it difficult for them to cope. When, later in life, they get hit with another disturbing event, that seems to have a major effect on them.

For these individuals, traumatic events could result in post-traumatic growth, but it doesn’t happen for everyone.

Some may never experience this silver lining and may grapple with various challenges such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and panic attacks until the trauma is addressed.

However, this does not mean that such individuals cannot heal. Although they’re not able to achieve PGT on their own, by acknowledging the trauma’s effects on their life and seeking support, they can find their peace and unlock higher performance. 

That’s exactly what we do with the TIPP program

TIPP program includes painless, and gentle healing of traumatic experiences. The process will help you replace negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors quicker than other types of traditional therapies

With the TIPP program, we have the unique ability to address and resolve trauma without directly talking about the specifics of the distressing events. This approach creates a sense of safety and protection for our clients, allowing them to undergo the healing process with confidence.

TIPP has proven to be very effective for individuals dealing with PTSD, panic attacks, anxiety, addiction, and depression. Right after they complete their 4-hour session,  clients often report immediate relief, calmer, quieter and more focused mind, a sense of lightness, and feelings of safety, validation, and care.


How To Know If You Experienced Post-Traumatic Growth

It’s fascinating that post-traumatic growth can be quantified.

The Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI), developed by psychologists Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun, assesses positive responses across five domains:

  1. Appreciation of life
  2. Relationships with others
  3. New possibilities in life
  4. Personal strength
  5. Spiritual change

Reflect on your own experiences with trauma. Have you observed growth and improvement in these five areas? 

If not, then you need to improve results through intentional focus. 


How to Improve Your Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory

Pause for a moment, take a few deep breaths, and allow yourself time to reflect: Are you someone who quickly rebounds from adversity, or do you take time to recover, eventually experiencing post-traumatic growth?

Are you resilient, or do you usually experience PTG? Or are you someone who tends to sit and dwell about what happened to you, continuing to experience disturbing emotions, feelings, and sensations? 

To intentionally focus on and grow your PTGI, you need to take action.  Identify an area for improvement among the five domains of growth—appreciation of life, relationships with others, new possibilities in life, personal strength, or spiritual change—and commit to intentional development.

Even if you consider yourself resilient and typically do not undergo PTG, there is always room for growth.

Like we said, resiliency is a skill. As any skill, it improves with practice. To improve resilience, you can practice reflection and start making gradual improvements. 

For example, what events and experiences throughout your life have you already bounced back from? Double down on those results, reflect on how you responded. 

What did you see? 

What did you hear? 

What did you feel while you bounced back? 

Reflecting and reviewing what you did will help reinforce your strengths. In sports, they review game tape to see not only what they need to improve on, but also see what worked. Think of this reflection as reviewing your resiliency game tape. Write down what worked, what was working for you when you bounced back, and then write down what you think you can improve on.

The key to bouncing back and resiliency is to decide to take action. When there are no actions being taken, depression tends to set in. Depression is the lack of emotions and emotions are calls for action. A resilient person is able to take action even when they feel like quitting. 

It’s important to acknowledge that individuals respond differently to the same events, influenced by various factors such as the nature of the trauma, the circumstances, and the timing—what we refer to as one’s personal set of atmospheric conditions.

Is everyone capable of resilience, improvement, and experiencing post-traumatic growth? Absolutely.

The human brain and mind are remarkably resilient, constantly striving for balance and homeostasis. The crucial step is to consciously focus on growth and adopt a mindset of continual improvement. Neuroscience has confirmed that even in later years, we are capable of creating new neural pathways—a phenomenon known as brain plasticity.

Here are some additional strategies to cultivate traits beneficial for resilience and post-traumatic growth:

  • Being  open to new experiences can help you reframe what happens and reconsider your belief system. 
  • If you’re outgoing, doing things and reaching out to others can be helpful because you’re more likely to ask for help. 
  • Building strong relationships.
  • Extroverts are more likely to be more active in response to trauma and seek out new connections with others. Interestingly, women tend to report more growth than men. This might be because women are more in touch with their emotions, while men are often taught to hide their feelings when they’re young.

How does this information relate to you? 

Can you now examine your underlying strengths? 

Are you considering forging new connections with others and ultimately finding ways to give back?

What I see for you is to continue this journey of transformation, to develop new principles for living that involve giving back, using a growth mindset, creating or extending your mission in life, and a purpose that goes way beyond just yourself. 

This is going to help you transform the events in your life into something that’s useful, not only for you, but for others. 

And that’s part of what we do in the TIP program. We help you examine your strengths, build new goals and targets by using some of the highlights from your life, your strengths and experiences.

TIPP program is here to help you overcome trauma and get all the benefits of PTG, without having to struggle for years.

 If you’re ready to quickly and efficiently reprocess and resolve trauma so you can live a more inspired life, book your call today

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