24 Mar

Post Traumatic Growth


Sometimes in counselling we find ourselves suggesting to a client that a recent traumatic experience can be looked at as a gift.  Often the individual looks bewildered and wonders how we could even suggest that?!  Fast forward a session or two later when self reflection and a little probing has helped them find other times in their life where a difficult experience brought a lesson or an opportunity for growth.

Life challenges us so often in ways we never expect.  Perhaps we can think of a time in our life where there was a job loss that led us to a new and exciting employment experience or a relationship that we held onto long after its shelf life and its ending that gave us a chance to reconnect with ourself. Trauma comes in many forms from situations such as these to grief, abuse, bullying or medical illness.

In the article from Leveraging Adversity titled “Post Traumatic Growth” -Three Words Every depressed Person Should Hear. Author Claire Dorotik-Nana describes the 5 domains of post-traumatic growth.  These are:

  • A greater appreciation for life
  • An openness to new possibilities
  • A greater sense of personal strength
  • A deepening of relationships
  • A deepening of spirituality.

Professor Stephen Joseph author of What Doesn’t Kill Us; A guide to overcoming adversity and moving forward, looks at the ways people can handle adversity. One thing to always remember is the story isn’t over, we get to create and continue writing our story in a way that can help us find new purpose and direction.

In closing  there is a fantastic, unique and very positive Ted Talk by Jane McGonigal entitled The Game that Can Give You 10 Extra Years of Life that is definitely worth a watch.


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