It is this blog’s position that virtually all that gets labeled mental illness via the DSM is largely some variety of PTSD. So this idea of post-traumatic growth is an essential thing to understand should we learn to truly help those who have become emotionally distressed.
The possibility of posttraumatic growth has become one of the most exciting topics in modern clinical psychology and psychotherapy.
Many commentators have talked about how trauma can be a catalyst to positive psychological change. Often, people’s philosophies of life change; perhaps becoming wiser, less materialistic, or more able to live in the present. Their sense of self changes too; perhaps becoming more patient, compassionate or grateful. And people’s relationships change; perhaps with a new depth of quality, the ability to make time for others, or becoming more giving.
Certainly, the study of posttraumatic growth is fascinating…
…And it becomes increasingly clear that for most people trauma is simply not an illness.
For many years humanistic psychologists have argued against the illness ideology in psychology with little success. But now it is also becoming obvious to the wider audience that what is needed is a new non-pathological understanding of the normal processes that trauma triggers.
This is the cutting edge of posttraumatic growth research and theory. It is why I think posttraumatic growth is one of the most important topics in contemporary psychology. Posttraumatic growth shows that what we need is neither a negative psychology, nor a positive psychology, but an integrative psychology that understands that trauma and transformation, suffering and joy, go hand in hand. read the rest here
I’ve shared this idea several times from the blog Fable: Growth Needs Context. I really love this concept. Another one here too:
How Loss Creates Depression And Growth – Fable – Good Fables — “The capacity to tolerate distress and efficiently develop greater internal resources creates the greatest possibility for posttraumatic growth. Posttraumatic growth and posttraumatic diminishment can co-exist.”
I have an interview with Cole Bitting, that author of Fable on the subject here as well: An interview with Cole Bitting from Fable – a blog on psychology and recovering from distress
You can also download for free Cole Bitting’s book “Furies — the struggle for growth” here There is an excerpt of the book at the link you can read before downloading.
Note and UPDATE: a friend made a comment that this is like a fancy way of saying “what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.” That aphorism has always irked me because people do live broken lives in numerous ways in this world. What doesn’t kill you can permanently maim you in the real world.
The fact is most of us need appropriate supports and resources in order to turn trauma into positive growth. Too often those supports are not there. This blog, in part, tries to educate about potential ways of giving support to those who are written off in society. Some of us are lucky enough to get that sort of support in our lives, but most people with serious psychiatric labels today, still do not have access to such support as there are very few places that offer appropriate support.
In sharing the concepts such as the one described in this post it is my hope that eventually there will be enough people in the helping professions or in the lives of people who have distress to help us support one another in more healing and transformative ways.
Ah…this is another little update starting here. I’m tired. Always tired…such is recovery from the trauma of iatrogenesis. In any case, I just noticed the guy’s blog that I’m quoting from is indeed called, “What doesn’t kill us” so, he may, very well believe the aphorism. It also looks like he’s got some good stuff on his site. I invite you to consider that there are many shades of grey in life and so here too. Also sometimes what is appropriate at one time is most certainly not at another time. As we change we need different things.