It is positive change experienced as a result of the struggle with a major life crisis or a traumatic event. Although we coined the term , the idea that human beings can be changed by their encounters with life challenges, sometimes in radically positive ways, is not new. The theme is present in ancient spiritual and religious traditions, literature, and philosophy. What reasonably new is the systematic study of this phenomenon by psychologists, social workers, counselors, and scholars in other traditions of clinical practice and scientific investigation.
Posttraumatic growth tends to occur in five general areas. Sometimes people who must face major life crises develop a sense that new opportunities have emerged from the struggle, opening up possibilities that were not present before. A second area is a change in relationships with others. Some people experience closer relationships with some specific people, and they can also experience an increased sense of connection to others who suffer. A third area of possible change is an increased sense of one’s own strength – “”. A fourth aspect of posttraumatic growth experienced by some people is a greater appreciation for life in general. The fifth area involves the spiritual or religious domain. Some individuals experience a deepening of their spiritual lives, , this deepening can also involve a significant change in one’s belief system.
Most of us, when we face very difficult losses or great suffering, will have a variety of highly distressing psychological reactions. Distress is typical when we face traumatic events.
– they are not. But for many of us, life crises are inevitable and we are not given the choice between suffering and growth on the one hand, and no suffering and no change, on the other.
It is not uncommon, but neither does everybody who faces a traumatic event experience growth.
but most of us eventually do, and perhaps you may also experience an encounter with posttraumatic growth.
Here are some links to other articles on posttraumatic growth: