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Take Root and Grow

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What is post-traumatic growth?

Post-traumatic growth (PTG) can be defined as positive personal changes that result from the survivor's struggle to deal with trauma and its psychological consequences1. The process of post-traumatic growth can lead to improved relationships with others, more compassion, openness, appreciation for life, spiritual growth, personal strength, and a renewed sense of possibilities in the world. This personal growth extends beyond pre-trauma functioning. Therefore, PTG it is not merely a bouncing back to the level of functioning prior to the trauma, but rather a sense of positive growth beyond pre-trauma functioning. 1-2 Importantly, recent research has highlighted that post-traumatic growth is not the opposite reaction to that of post-traumatic stress; rather these are two separate kinds of responses that can occur within the same person simultaneously, and over time3, and that the experience of distress can actually promote the development of growth.4

The post-traumatic growth inventory

To evaluate whether and to what extent someone has achieved growth after a trauma, psychologists look for positive responses in five areas.

1: Appreciation of life

2: Relationships with others

3: New possibilities in life

4: Personal strength

5: Spiritual change

Source: Richard Tedeschi, PhD, and Lawrence Calhoun, PhD, Journal of Traumatic Stress, 1996