As many of you may already know, post-traumatic growth (PTG) is a theory that explores the growth and transformation that can happen following trauma. Developed in the mid 1990’s by Richard Tedeschi, PhD, and Lawrence Calhoun, PhD, the theory purports that people who endure psychological struggle following adversity and trauma can often see positive growth afterward. According to Tedeschi, “People develop a new understanding of themselves, the world they live in, how to relate to other people, the kind of future they might have, and a better understanding of how to live life.”
PTG is sometimes confused with resiliency, but they are two different things. Resiliency is the personal strength of being able to “bounce back”, while PTG refers to the growth that happens when someone has difficulty bouncing back from a traumatic event which has challenged their core beliefs and involved psychological struggle. These individuals are then able to find personal growth, despite the trauma and struggle.
Tedeschi also says that clinicians can prepare people for PTG by educating them and letting them know that this kind of growth is a possibility for them. That being said, timing is important and therapists should not jump right into the possibility of growth, which may be construed by the client as a minimization of their suffering and pain.
The Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI) was developed by Tedeschi and Calhoun to evaluate whether or not someone has achieved growth after trauma. The inventory looks at positive responses in five areas:
- Appreciation of life
- Relationships with others
- New possibilities in life
- Personal strength
- Spiritual change
The theme of positive change occurring after tragedy has been discussed and written about before in spiritual traditions, literature, and philosophy. Despite the fact that the concept is not new, it remains a hopeful and encouraging aspect of the human spirit.
For over fifty years, the New Bridge Foundation® has been dedicated to assisting individuals who struggle with substance use disorders. Trauma and PTSD are specializations of ours, and we pride ourselves on providing trauma-informed care. Feel free to contact us at 510 548-7270 or 800 785-2400.
If you wish to be deleted from our distribution list, please reply to the sender, noting “delete” in the subject line. Thank you.