Updated: Sep 18, 2019
"There are commonalities in people who experience growth following tragedy"
Years ago, when I was on my own path towards healing from trauma, I came across an article on the concept of post traumatic growth. This concept put into words what I was trying to accomplish - turning tragedy and devastation into something deeper and better than what I had before. Relief hit me that it was actually a thing and there was research to back it up! Two psychologists, Tedeschi and Calhoun, had actually studied this phenomenon and had validated it with data.
I read everything I could find on the topic. I wanted to know how it was done. I wanted to come out of my life changing experiences with increased personal strength, a greater appreciation for life, better relationships, and a desire to help others.
In a nutshell, what I found is that there are commonalities in people who experience growth following tragedy. These include having some type of spiritual life, a strong support network, a belief that there is meaning in tragedy, and a belief in the possibility of transformation through adversity.
As a therapist, part of my job is to help facilitate post traumatic growth in clients who have undergone trauma or tragedy. It is a concept that is scientifically proven and that I believe in whole heartedly. There is a lot of hope in the fact that lives can become more meaningful and fulfilling on the other side of incredible pain.