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Kathy Marshack News

Post Traumatic Growth: Struggling to Find Meaning in Trauma

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


People can suffer through horrendous traumas, and then they find ways to turn the tragedy into a means for helping others. Learn how they’re experiencing post-traumatic growth and how you can develop greater resilience now.After being gang raped, a woman spends the rest of her life fighting for the rights of rape victims. After losing his legs in an armed conflict, a retired soldier dedicates his life to helping veterans. After surviving the vicious murder of her daughter by members of a different ethnic group, a mother advocates for racial equality. How do all of these people live through such horrendous experiences, find meaning in them, and become such selfless, giving people? While it wasn’t easy, they all experienced post-traumatic growth.

What is Post-traumatic growth (PTG)? It’s a theory that explains how positive transformation follows a trauma. It was developed by psychologists Richard Tedeschi, PhD, and Lawrence Calhoun, PhD, in the mid-1990’s. They hold that people who endure psychological struggle, following adversity, can often see positive growth afterward. Avoidance, on the other hand, perpetuates pain. You can’t fix the harshness of a trauma, if you can’t face it. Only then can you grow and live a better life.

According to Tedeschi, as many as 90 percent of survivors report an aspect of posttraumatic growth, such as a renewed appreciation for life. Some other aspects are:

  • Improved relationships with others.
  • New possibilities in life.
  • Personal strength.
  • Spiritual change.

Post-traumatic growth occurs when someone who has difficulty bouncing back experiences a traumatic event that challenges his or her core beliefs. Then they endure a psychological struggle, like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. After which, they ultimately find new understanding of themselves and the world they live in. They learn how to more closely relate to other people, and they come to a better understanding of how to live life.

Someone who has resilience when trauma occurs, won't be rocked to the core by the trauma and won't have to look for a new belief system. Less resilient people, on the other hand, will become distressed and confused as they question why such a terrible thing could happen to them.

There’s a lot you can do right now to prepare yourself, before a trauma occurs. Developing the highest level of empathy, EmD-5 or Radiant Empathy, allows you to hold onto your beliefs and values, no matter what happens to you. My new book, “WHEN EMPATHY FAILS” reveals seven ways you can keep your resilience in the face of trauma. I invite you to download the first chapter for free. It will introduce you to the trauma I experienced, and how I thrived. Or you can purchase the book on Amazon to get the complete story, plus seven warrior lessons learned.



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