What is Post-Traumatic Growth?
In the 1980s, two psychology professors from the University of North Carolina, Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun begin researching a new field of study – post-traumatic growth. Through their research with prisoners of war and other people who had experienced traumatic incidents, they saw how events that were outwardly bad, even horrific, had spurred survivors towards positive life changes. In “Upside – The New Science of Post-Traumatic Growth” by Jim Rendon, he writes:
As Tedeschi and Calhoun spoke to more and more people, they began to see that traumatic experiences certainly did cause suffering, but suffering was not the end of the change wrought by these events. Suffering, in fact was part of a much larger experience. It proved to be a catalyst that pushed people to find new meaning in their lives. As Tedeschi and Calhoun dug through existing research and interviewed more than six hundred trauma survivors, patterns began to emerge…Eventually they determined that people were reporting positive change in one or more of the following five distinct areas as a result of their trauma:
- Increased inner strength
- An openness to new possibilities in life
- Closer and often deeper relationships with friends and family
- An enhanced appreciation of life
- A stronger sense of spirituality