Post-Traumatic Growth: Beyond Survival and Recovery
Online Course Materials: Articles
This course was produced in collaboration between Taylor & Francis, PLC and the Zur Institute. The Zur Institute maintains responsibility for this continuing education program and its content.
General Course Description
There has been so much research and attention directed toward recovering from PTSD and trauma that psychology has been slow to look at the possibility of post-traumatic growth. For too long, treatment of PTSD and other trauma-related disorders were left out of the growing movement toward strength-based psychology, and treatment focus remained on recovery more than growth. In recent years, however, PTG has been attracting more and more attention. 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.
Among the important facts in this introductory level 5 CE course:
- Guilt and shame can have positive adaptive qualities and actually contribute to posttraumatic growth.
- The search for meaning does not produce post-traumatic growth–and in fact can cause short-term deterioration in functioning–but finding meaning can lead to PTG.
- The extent to which an event impacts a person’s sense of self and identity is related to mental health outcomes.
- Following 9/11, many New York City therapists reported professional growth in the areas of boundary changes, connectedness, skill development, self-care, and political activism. The trauma not only helped them grow but changed the way they practiced.
This introductory course has two sections. Section One provides a theoretical and research overview of post-traumatic growth. You’ll learn surprising facts, such as how the shattered assumptions of a safe or just world are an important step in growing from trauma. Section Two examines PTG in specific traumatized populations, including New York City therapists after 9/11, parents of infants hospitalized in neonatal intensive care units, and whether women or men are more likely to grow from traumatic events. Additional resources and references are provided for further study, but they are not part of the course.
This course will teach the participant to:
- To define post-traumatic growth.
- To discuss the theoretical basis for post-traumatic growth.
- To compare and contrast post-traumatic growth with resilience.
- To discuss the personality characteristics and cognitive patterns that promote and impede post-traumatic growth.
- To discuss the personal and professional relevance of post-traumatic growth to therapists.
- Definitions of post-traumatic growth
- How PTG differs from resilience
- Is PTG a valid construct?
- Personality factors that promote or impede PTG
- PTG and Existentialism
- Constructing or re-constructing a meaning-making narrative
- Re-examining and re-integrating one’s fear of death
- PTG and specific populations
- Madrid residents following the train bombings
- Parents of infants in intensive neonatal care units
- New York City therapists after 9/11