What is Post-Traumatic Growth?

After a traumatic event, it is thought that life will never be the same again. In a way, this is true. That’s why it’s called trauma. They are experiences that threaten the physical or mental integrity of the person, and the perception of the person who has such an experience about himself, life, the world and people changes.

However, this does not mean that life will always be negative after trauma and that positive emotions cannot be felt again. It is here that the concept of “post traumatic growth” emerges. This concept in the literature; It is defined as “a significant positive change experience resulting from coping with a major life crisis” (Calhoun, Cann, Tedeschi, & McMillan, 2000). Long before that, even in ancient times; There are beliefs, philosophies and ways of life that difficult life experiences and suffering transform people. (Tedeschi and Calhoun, 2004:2; Tedeschi and Calhoun, 1995)

In the English literature, the term “trauma survivor” is used for the traumatized person. Similarly, the German philosopher Nietzsche, with his famous phrase “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger”, wanted to explain that people continue to live by getting stronger with the difficulties they experience in their lives.

So, who lives after trauma and how do we know that we have grown out of trauma?

Researches made; psychological resilience, that is, those who have a purpose in life and the ability to move on despite bad events; indicates that you are more prone to experiencing post-traumatic growth. In addition, resilience to negative life events (to struggle), optimism (to be hopeful in life in general, thinking that good things will happen), high perception of consistency are the concepts associated with post-traumatic growth.

As a result of research conducted with traumatized people; The changes seen in humans were examined as follows.

  1. Greater appreciation of life and changing priorities in life, realizing that life is temporary and worrying less about less important things, enjoying the details of everyday life more.

  2. To be able to establish closer and warmer relations with other people, to establish a closer and sincere relationship with people who support him, to be open to getting help.

  3. Believing more in your own strength, increasing the belief that you can overcome your difficulties, realizing that you are not fragile

  4. To experience spiritual and spiritual development, to turn to a spiritual power, to have the need to believe, to find the meaning of life.

  5. Exploring new possibilities in life, trying things that were never dared before

Some people survive and recover from trauma more easily, while for others, the effects last longer and can cause relatively serious changes in their lives. This depends, of course, on the extent of the traumatic event. For example, immigration, war, etc. For people who have been exposed to mass traumas and whose life order is completely disrupted, adapting to this situation and coming to the point of growth after trauma may be more difficult than others, but it is not impossible. The important thing is to find the strength of coping and survival within the traumatized person and to get the right support at the point where their own strength is insufficient.

To transform the traumatic experiences experienced into post-traumatic growth; Psychological support is of great importance. If you have an experience that you call trauma, regardless of its size, and you think that it negatively affects the flow of your daily life, you should definitely seek psychological support.

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