overcoming hau Turning Adversity into Advantage – Post-Traumatic Growth
Post-traumatic growth does not undo the negative effects of the trauma, but uses elements of it to help the person grow in new directions and take on unique opportunities that they didn’t have before the trauma
hen you hear the term post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it’s not surprising your thoughts could turn to the negative – tragic events, suffering, physical and invisible injuries, and people struggling to recover from trauma. Millions of Americans are dealing with traumatic memories of the terrorist attacks of September 11, the Boston Marathon bombing, shootings at schools and movie theaters in various communities, the devastation of natural disasters, and the tragedies of war. In the Wounded Warrior Project 2014 Annual Alumni Survey, 65.2% of the more than 21,000 respondents said they still experience nightmares about a traumatic military experience. While we have to face PTSD and acknowledge the events that cause those victims to struggle, what about the rest of the story? What happens after
HOMELAND / October 2014
two, five or ten years? While time doesn’t magically heal all wounds, it does provide a continuum on which the injured can craft their own personal reaction and response to the circumstances they endured. While the media tend to portray people with PTSD in a more negative light, we frequently see the opposite – positive steps after trauma and a desire to help others. The term “post-traumatic growth” was coined by psychology professor Dr. Richard Tedeschi in 1995. In post-traumatic growth, a subject who has experienced a highly stressful or traumatic event can not only return to a baseline point of recovery, but actually go beyond where they were prior to experiencing the trauma. As they recover, they not only reach and accept their “new normal,” but use their experiences to stretch their personal growth and achieve even greater goals. www.homelandmagazine.comm
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