The phenomenon known as post traumatic growth (PTG) is defined as positive psychological change experienced as a result of struggles with highly challenging life circumstances. It is possible to experience the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder and also experience post traumatic growth. There is growing recognition that traumatic events have the ability to lead to positive outcomes for many.
Although traumas vary in severity some studies have found that participants who are proactive at making meaning out of their trauma are more likely to have higher levels of growth. The three components of change are interpersonal relationships, new possibilities, and personal strength. Whilst resilience describes the ability to bounce back, post-traumatic growth (PTG) is the development of new behaviours and outlooks that did not exist before the event.
Research shows that people experience post traumatic growth when they change their self-perception in some way. They may report increased personal strength, self-reliance, a heightened awareness of their own mortality and the preciousness and fragility of life. There may also report positive changes such as improved choices or feelings of compassion for others. Many of those who experience a traumatic events may find there is a gain in spite of their loss. An admission of vulnerability is another strength associated with post traumatic growth that can improve the quality of relationships.
Individuals who experience trauma, particularly related to their own mortality or the mortality of others, may experience significant shifts in awareness relating to the spiritual, existential, and religious elements of philosophy of life. Core beliefs and new passions can be solidified during post traumatic growth.
Traumatic events have the ability to shatter the assumption about self and the world as well as improving cognitive processing as we search for new meanings in life. Finding meaning in life, a sense of self and identity is essential for psychological health following adversity. It is important for people to understand that post traumatic growth is a real possibility beyond recovery.