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Friday, 19 December 2014

“Post-Traumatic Growth” — Three Words Every Depressed Person Should Hear | Leveraging Adversity



An interesting article on how we can react depressively to traumatic events within our lives in the initial stages but through trauma we can attain new meaning(s) in life. However, be assured it may not be experienced or feel that way during the dark time of the trauma - it may seem like the opposite - hell and no light at the end of the tunnel. 



Whilst the definition of trauma used in the article is, "anything that either causes a person to fear for his/her life, or the life of anyone else, or anything that causes a person to become emotionally overwhelmed" (Claire Dorotik-Nana). However, trauma is not necessarily generic and each individual experiences trauma differently. The loss of a relationship, the loss of employment or such events that causes a person to become emotionally overwhelmed. 



One of the terms used in the article, "illusory growth" - 'everything is great when the reality is different' -  is a strong defence mechanism I experience in working with men in coming to terms with trauma in their lives. Examples are, "she'll be right", "it's all good" are not uncommon responses in their therapeutic process. Whilst the defence mechanism is necessary it may and can serve to prevent positive self development as defined by Tedeshi and Calhoun. 



Learning to process trauma is important to our psychological growth and self efficacy. To sight the quote from Dorotik-Nana; According to Richard Tedeshi and Lawrence Calhoun, authors of, The Handbook of Post-Traumatic Growth: Research and Practice, “The struggle to find new meaning in the aftermath of the trauma is crucial to positive psychological growth, as well as the acceptance that personal distress and growth can co-exist, and often do, while these new meanings are crafted” (Tedeshi &Calhoun, 2004).



Whilst working through trauma is extremely painful and all of our defense mechanism want to kick in to protect us - Dorotik-Nana suggests the five positive realms of post traumatic growth being. To quote: 



- "A greater appreciation for life;

- An openness to new possibilities;

- A greater sense of personal strength;

- A deepening of relationships;

- A deepening of spirituality"







As we drag ourselves out of the darkness and pain of trauma - life does present itself with renewed possibilities or perhaps we are more open to attract such possibilities and deepening of relationships with ourselves and other



“Post-Traumatic Growth” — Three Words Every Depressed Person Should Hear | Leveraging Adversity