Utilizing Post-Traumatic Growth to Transcend Mental Health and Substance Abuse Issues
As they say, trauma is the nightmares faced while awake, and it takes tremendous effort and perseverance to overcome and transcend, especially when compounding that with mental health and substance abuse issues. Post-traumatic growth empowers individuals to focus on self-improvement after experiencing life’s difficulties.
Let’s take a moment to understand some of the essentials of post-traumatic growth and the various forms of treatments available. These science-backed programs give you the tools you need to transcend trauma.
What Is Post-Traumatic Growth
Post-traumatic growth is the psychological change following stressful circumstances. It’s a process of finding purpose and seeing beyond the struggles.
Lawrence Calhoun and Richard G. Tedeschi coined the term post-traumatic growth in the mid-1990s at the University of Carolina. In their view, people who have experienced post-traumatic growth succeed in life with more gratitude and resilience.
They define post-traumatic growth as positive psychological changes after dealing with very difficult life circumstances. It involves life-changing yet favorable psychological outcomes that potentially change how an individual perceives the world.
Post-traumatic growth offers new insights into life, interpersonal relationships, career, and overall physical and mental health and wellness. Acceptance is the key to successful recovery from mental health and substance use issues, and post-traumatic growth goes beyond this acknowledgment.
It entwines self-dependence and personal growth in a manner that enables you to redirect the pain you’re experiencing from the trauma. The positive effects of post-traumatic growth are reflected in the following areas of your life:
- Improved personal relationships
- Increased pleasure
- New opportunities (both personally and professionally)
- Greater spiritual connection
- Heightened sense of gratitude
- Enhanced emotional strength and resilience
Studies show that 50–60% of the population experiences some form of a traumatic event in their lifetime. While not everyone who experiences trauma undergoes post-traumatic growth, those who do experience greater recovery and healthy coping.
It ensures that you have the tools needed for looking forward to living instead of feeling trapped in the past.
Forms of Treatment for Post-Traumatic Growth
Although an individual must choose to have the mindset for post-traumatic growth, there are therapeutic treatments psychologists believe help with this transformation. Here are a few of the standard therapeutic strategies that encourage self-development and post-traumatic growth:
1. Reality Therapy
This form of therapy seeks to provide patients with a clear idea of where they are now in their recovery and how to get to the next stage of healing. It induces life satisfaction, a sense of purpose, and objectivity in people in distress.
2. Accelerated Resolution Therapy
Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) incorporates cognitive therapy and introduces decision-oriented emotional control to minimize the effects of a traumatic life event.
ART includes exercises such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), guided imagery, voluntary memory replacement, and hypnotherapy. It is highly effective in helping people with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, substance abuse, and emotional problems.
3. Body-Mind Psychotherapy
Body-mind Psychotherapy incorporates aspects of a cognitive and psychosomatic approach to mental health. It uses components of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motor development, and homeostasis.
Using relaxation, mindfulness, and sensory awareness techniques, this psychotherapy helps trauma survivors to reconnect with themselves and recover self-awareness.
Finding a Community That Fosters Post-Traumatic Growth
We are still studying trauma and its effects on the mind, body, and spirit, with much research still to do in this field. After all, how we connect with ourselves and others after experiencing adversity is undoubtedly important, especially when facing mental health and substance use issues.
Post-traumatic growth enables you to embrace inevitable change. This allows you to guide yourself through the struggle and move forward. At Ethos Recovery, our sober living community fosters post-traumatic growth as we walk with you on your journey to recovery.
You can thrive in your recovery with the support of the Ethos community. Contact us today to speak to one of our caring and compassionate treatment specialists to learn more.
Author – Chris Howard
Chris Howard is the Founder and Director of Ethos Recovery. He has a B.A. in Psychology from UCLA and has served as a community advocate/mentor for men and women in recovery since 2010.
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