Post Traumatic Growth – What Doesn’t Kill Us Makes Us Stronger
Researcher that has spent a tremendous amount of time in the study of post-traumatic growth is Dr. Stephen Joseph and his book “What Doesn’t Kill Us” reveals how all of us can navigate change and adversity, traumatic or otherwise, to find new meaning, purpose, and direction in life.
On post-traumatic growth, he says, “When adversity strikes, people often feel that at least some part of them be at their views of the world, their sense of themselves, or their relationships has been smashed.
Those who try to put their lives back together exactly as they were remain fractured and vulnerable, but those who accept the breakage and build themselves and new become more resilient and open to new ways of living.
People are intrinsically motivated towards processing the new trauma related information in ways that maximizes their psychological well-being. So, post-traumatic growth involves the rebuilding of the shattered assumptive world. It’s about recuperating coping abilities.
Now I want to share with you six takeaways from this that Dr. Stephen Joseph uses for helping people to experience post-traumatic growth.
Post Traumatic Growth#1
First is taking stock, which means making sure that the client is safe and helping them learn to manage their post-traumatic stress to tolerable levels, for example, through exposure related exercises. Now, I’m not just talking about extinction based exercises, because that really suppresses and doesn’t really erase the trauma about emotion. There are strategies like that, which we’ll be getting into further on when we talk about memory re-consolidation and into strategies. For now, this is just a big overview.
So taking stock is being able to help the client to manage stress levels.
Post Traumatic Growth#2
Second is hope experiences, learning to be hopeful about the future. It is looking for inspirational stories of people who have overcome similar obstacles. The more experiences around you that reflect the idea of hope, the easier it is to be hopeful. Of course, that’s going to be covered more when we talk about Neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to rewire itself in a response to experience.
The more experiences of hope a person has, then the more their own brain is going to be switching away from turning on autonomic stressful emotions to something a lot more parasympathetic, a lot more restful.
Post Traumatic Growth#3
Third is valuing change, developing awareness of new priorities more able to live in the present. Living in the present plays a very important factor in person’s health.
To simplify our life, we have to allow our selves to live in the present moment. We have to start a day with a smile because each day is a new day with new possibilities and opportunities. As well as, this would help us to forget the yesterdays worries and go for a day with a new hope.
Post Traumatic Growth#4
Fourth is identifying change, being able to notice your own growth. For example, you could use the psychological well-being post-traumatic changes questionnaire, which is straight from Dr. Stephen Joseph and you can look into it online.
Post Traumatic Growth#5
Fifth is re-authoring. For example, storytelling, like being able to tell different stories. It is using expressive writing techniques to find new perspectives, extremely valuable.
Post Traumatic Growth#6
Sixth is concrete expression, some form of productive and purposeful work. Even if you take a look at celebrities, perhaps like Joanne Rowling, she was raised by a divorced, single mom. Joanne was a six year old little girl living in poverty in an infested apartment. She took out her clunky old typewriter and typed out her book. This is concrete expression. She typed out the Harry Potter book and tremendous type of growth occurred.
Now you have an example of concrete expression, something that you can do that fulfills a bigger purpose.
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