8 Signs of
Post Traumatic Growth
Post-traumatic stress (PSTD) is commonly talked about.
This is the effect of prolonged and complex trauma on our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. And it really leaves its mark if unhealed, as a painful wound affecting every aspect of life. Trying to feel safe when it’s a feeling that may never have been experienced.
But there is also the lesser explored ‘post traumatic growth’ and the healing after trauma.
The notion that those who have experienced a traumatic childhood within the family which could include:
- a dysfunctional family,
- alcohol or drug issues,
- mental health conditions,
- Domestic violence,
- Emotional abuse
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse,
- Divorced parents or single parent families
- Chronic health problems
Or traumatic events later in life.
Not only show incredible resilience, but also thrive and grow in the wake of the trauma.
From trauma to healing
In fact post traumatic growth is the idea that you can emerge from traumatic experiences stronger and wiser than before. Despite your experience. Hence rather than just looking for the ‘postives or bright side’ of the situation, its about recognising the human capacity to heal, grow and overcome.
Even amidst the toughest situations.
In short counselling is pivotal in the transformation process. Helping you to tolerate your feelings. Particularly experiencing the co-regulation of your emotions. If safety, love and belonging wasn’t something you experienced growing up – you may not have learnt how to self regulate your emotions. Meaning feelings can often be so overwhelming, intolerable and leave you feeling that unsafe – that you would do anything to avoid feeling those emotions. When you can begin to withstand your feelings in a manageable way, you can then start to understand your behaviour. From there it’s easier to offer self compassion. Furthermore by experiencing a safe relationship your healing journey can begin, helping you to discover your inner strengths.
What are the signs of post traumatic growth?
1. Close strong relationships
When you feel safe and don’t need to defend yourself, relationships change. You can say what you mean, what you need and can fully hear how others feel, without needing to distort to protect yourself. Straight forward communication with an open heart.
2. More empathy & self compassion
When you are kinder to yourself, you can offer this to others too. Experiencing the safe, therapeutic counselling relationship means you can learn to tolerate your feelings, rather than keep them shut down.
3. Greater self awareness and use of unique abilities
Because you aren’t blocking out or avoiding your feelings, you can be more aware of how you feel. This helps to identify and understand your emotional triggers and responses, which in turn helps to reduce overwhelm. When you are able contain your feelings you are able to make more informed decisions and manage your emotions. Changing the perceived weakness of having feelings into personal inner strength.
4. New perspective and appreciation of life
If you’ve been through some stuff, and you can keep going through to the other side – well that’s when things can look different. When you decide to face the hurt and no longer avoid it the healing can begin. If you spend your life feeling anxious, unsafe, or in survival mode, all you will experience is threat and danger. Feeling safe allows you to experience other emotions offering you a whole new outlook on life.
5. New possibilities and life goals
A new outlook on life means new possibilities become possible. When you are using all your mental and emotional energy just to get by on a day to day basis, its difficult to think anything could ever be different. Feeling calmer, more emotionally in control, thinking clearer, sleeping better all help create a new mindset and a new way of living.
6. Improved relationships
Having experienced trauma and actively working on healing the pain means you may become more empathetic, compassionate, and understanding. Therefore strengthening your connections with others AND your self.
7. Greater self care
When you stop being so hard on yourself or feeling like it must all be your fault, it becomes easier to look after yourself. The releasing of psychological and emotional barriers allows further self development and adopting better lifestyle choices.
When you are willing to face the pain and psychological distress you’ve experienced (including your coping strategies which may not be that great, but stopped you getting hurt) it’s brave. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable takes courage. As a result experiencing these feelings in a safe counselling relationship helps to grow your confidence and self esteem. Placing you in the driving seat to make the right decisions for you.
Thriving after trauma
In summary – It is possible to heal after trauma.
You may have been through all kinds of hurt but can thrive despite this. Often showing incredible resilience. Humans have a natural drive to survive. Talking (or writing / drawing) about your life experiences, working on regulating your nervous system, and accepting all of the parts that make you who you are – with a therapist who absolutely gets it – helps you move from survive into thrive.
Leading to growth, self development, and self compassion despite what life has thrown at you.
Interested in exploring how counselling would work for you?
Please email email@example.com or click here
About the author: Chris Boobier is the owner of CRB Counselling specialising in anxiety, trauma, Bereavement & loss. Supporting adults and adolescents, she is passionate about helping people be their authentic self through counselling.