Post-Traumatic Growth: Beyond Survival and Recovery
Clinical Update June 2014
By Zur Institute
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There has been a great deal of research and attention directed toward recovering from PTSD and trauma. However, psychology has been slow to explore the possibility of post-traumatic growth (PTG). For too long, treatment of PTSD and other trauma-related disorders were left out of the growing movement toward strength-based psychology. The focus of treatment remained on recovery more than growth. In recent years, however, PTG has been attracting more and more attention.
Following one of my all time heroes, Dr. Viktor Frankl, who searched for meaning in the midst of a Nazi concentration camp, I searched for meaning in my war experience with all its intense traumas, injuries, confusion, guilt, etc. My search led me to study and teach the psychology of war, enmity and victimhood, the love of hating, how young men are taught how to kill without guilt, and the role of women in the making of war. Ultimately, these explorations have helped me grow and find deeper meaning in my life as a result of (not in spite of) my past traumatic events. (OZ)
Researchers have discovered not only what makes people resilient but what characteristics and conditions enable people to come through healing and end up wiser, stronger, more fulfilled, and with a deeper meaning to their lives than they had before trauma struck. Therapy with traumatized people, we now realize, is about more than just surviving or recovering.