There is such a thing as post-traumatic growth! Growth and resilience can come from challenges. One of The Center’s newest team members, Leslie Friday, has this to say about growing through life’s bumps in the road.
Many of us are familiar with post-traumatic stress, but more recently in the positive psychology movement there has been a lot of evidence supporting the concept of post-traumatic growth. Post-traumatic growth focuses on the idea that human beings are not only able to endure extremely challenging hardships and trauma, but are actually capable of much growth and positive transformation on the other side of it.
Underlying this train of thought is a very important notion: human beings are incredibly resilient. While suffering and hardship are very real, so is the innate ability for humans to overcome. It is also important to note that a person’s perception of an event plays a huge role in the aftermath of a crises. In other words, how one interprets the events can have a bigger impact on the individual than the actual crisis itself.
While different people have different levels of resilience and some might have an easier time integrating than others, post-traumatic growth gives us a hopeful view of counseling and humanity in that it reminds us that we are not solely at the mercy of stress, hardship, or trauma; rather, there is real opportunity to not only endure these situations but to come out stronger and more wholehearted on the other side. We are stronger than we might think ourselves and others to be, and sometimes stress and hardship (though not voluntary or desired), is the painful yet fruitful way that we learn this.
This is a good example of one of the great paradoxes of life (the “both/and”): available to us every day is both difficulty, pain, and challenge, and simultaneously the beauty, joy, and growth that can come as the very result of it. The things that we thought might break us could be the very things that bring about lasting positive growth and change.
Dr. Brad Schwall was interviewed on Channel 8 WFAA on the topic, watch the video below.