PTG in Clinical Practice

Opportunities for Growth in Survivors of Trauma

December 12, 2023
National Center for PTSD Clinical Quarterly

The deleterious effects of traumatic events are well documented, and include physical injuries of victims, fears raised in these victims, their families and neighbors, and the physical and social destruction that violence visits on societies. Certainly, the literature on posttraumatic stress disorder has clarified the ways that trauma can effect many realms of physiological, psychological, and interpersonal functioning. Along with these effects of trauma, there are others that have been less commonly described, i.e., the ways that trauma may act as a catalyst for personal transformation. In fact, it appears that between ten and ninety percent of traumatized individuals in research studies report that they have experienced some benefits from coping with the aftermath of trauma, an experience we have called “posttraumatic growth” (1,2). The range of reports is substantial due to the fact that different traumas and populations may operate differently, and most studies have not paid special attention to this aspect of trauma experience. But the changes themselves have a common pattern. The changes include positive developments in interpersonal relationships and one’s spiritual life, a sense of personal strength, new pathways for one’s life, and changes in personal philosophy (3).

Read the article “Opportunities for Growth in Survivors of Trauma” Clinical quarterly

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