What is Post-traumatic Growth

The Journey from Adversity to Growth

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is estimated to affect around 1 in 3 people who go through a traumatic event. While awareness of the debilitating impact of trauma has grown in recent years, what’s not so well known is that traumatic experieces can also be the catalyst for significant personal growth and transformation, proving that what doesn’t kill you really can make you stronger.

What is Post-traumatic Growth explores the new science of post-traumatic growth, answering the most frequently asked questions about the subject, including.

  • What is trauma and what is post-traumatic stress?
  • What is meant by the concept of post-traumatic growth?
  • How do you cope positively during and after trauma?
  • How can you strengthen your resilience to keep going?
  • How can you grow from adversity?

The combination of the Q&A approach, real-life case studies and a range of practical resilience-building strategies guides you gently on the journey from adversity to growth, showing that it’s possible to emerge from trauma’s shadow with not only great well-being but also a deeper sense of meaning and fulfilment in life.

I am in the final stages of a full recovery from PTS following a violent mugging in London on Halloween night, 2014. In summary, my recovery was precipitated after reading ‘What Is Post-Traumatic Growth?’ Needless to say, the book was a huge help and support to me during those fragile first steps back to an inner peace I had lost access to. I would highly recommend it, particularly to those who may have suffered trauma and been diagnosed as depressed in the aftermath but who feel this diagnosis does not adequately describe the holistic condition of their mental health.” Artist, writer and rehabilitated PTSD sufferer, Niall James Holohan 

There are 5 dimensions to PTG and it’s estimated that around 90% of trauma survivors will experience one of these.

ptgcover2Greater personal strength: People who have come through major stressful events often talk about feeling more alive and having a deeper understanding of themselves. They know who they really are and what they want in life. They have grown through the experience – older, wiser and stronger.

Closer relationships: Trauma is just as much a test of our relationships as it is of ourselves. You discover who your true friends are. There is a greater sense of closeness and authenticity in the relationships that survive. You may experience the kindness of strangers that is the very hallmark of humanity.

New appreciation of life: Adversity can throw things up in the air and lead you to question life, to alter your worldview and find a fresh appreciation for life. This is particularly the case for anyone who’s faced serious illness.

New priorities and possibilities: Trauma is a watershed with a sense of life ‘before’ and ‘after’ the trauma. As your life changes so do your priorities. You may want to abandon your old life and feel motivated to do something that’s meaningful. Trauma brings endings but with those come new beginnings.

Spiritual development: Going through trauma can trigger spiritual growth as people emerge from their ‘long, dark night of the soul’ and connect with the religion of their youth or are drawn to a new one. This spirituality can also take a secular form – a faith in the power of love or a deeper connection to nature.

What is Post-traumatic Growth is published by Watkins Media as part of the #WhatIs series. Read the review on Positive Psychology News.

Want to find out more about post-traumatic growth? Watch the book talk  which happened at Watkins Bookshop in London in June 2017. And here’s a short clip of the above.