Experiencing traumatic events has an adverse effect on one’s mental health, and trauma can affect many people regardless of their physical or emotional strength. Experiencing scenes of violence, natural disasters, or being put in physical or emotional danger can cause difficulties that a person may need professional help to work through. However, as harrowing as these events can be, there may also be a sense of resilience and compassion that results as an effect of the trauma, as well. This post-traumatic growth can use the framework of the trauma a person may have experienced as a lens in which to develop their compassion fatigue resilience and reinforce their ability to make it through any other difficult situation they may be put in through their lives.
Post-Traumatic Growth Definition
Post-traumatic growth can be an empowering thing. While experiencing traumatic events is typically seen as only negative, there can be some silver linings that come out of the situation. Finding these silver linings and becoming more compassionate or resilient as a result is post-traumatic growth. After traumatic events, such as natural disasters, shootings, personal injury, or any other kind of physical or emotional trauma, a person may be left with a newfound sense of priorities or point of view. It is a personal transformation that results from a traumatic experience and can reform how a person sees others in their community or may help them recognize their strength.
Those experiencing post-traumatic stress growth may adapt a frame of thinking like, “If I can survive this, I can survive anything.” Those experiencing post-traumatic growth find themselves more compassionate towards others than before, even with an increased compassion fatigue resilience, allowing them to further empathize with the struggles and experiences of others.
Trauma Isn’t Only Either Good or Bad
Experiencing trauma isn’t something that has only two results — either a person grows from the experience or they are left with a negative impact. Rather, it is possible that a person may be experiencing the effects of trauma, or even post-traumatic stress disorder, as a result of their experiences while still also showing signs of post-traumatic growth. Finding silver linings or empowerment after traumatic experiences is a very difficult thing to do, and not every person will be able to experience this post-traumatic growth in the same way, or within the same time frame. While some people may begin to shift their viewpoints and priorities right after a traumatic event, others may need to work alongside supportive peers, family members, and professionals to realize their empowerment through a dedicated therapy program. Those experiencing post-traumatic growth may also still need assistance in dealing with other symptoms of their trauma as well, even while making personal strides in their own lives.
The Personal Transformation
There are several ways that a person may express their personal growth following a traumatic event. Some might reevaluate professional opportunities and encourage themselves to follow a dream path in a certain career field or use their empowerment to chase after promotions or other symbols of status within a company. Other people may begin to reprioritize their time, focusing more on their interests and personal hobbies, or even rescheduling their days around being able to spend time with their families and loved ones. This can mean finding ways to cherish the time more, or simply expressing one’s gratitude to others and their presence and support. It is also possible that a person may experience a spiritual change as well with their newfound outlook on their lives, and may explore religious outlets or become more involved in charity works or other kinds of giving communities.
Compassion Fatigue Resilience
Experiencing this trauma can increase one’s resilience to compassion fatigue and cause a person to become more in-tune with the needs and difficulties that others may face. Nurses, doctors, first responders, and counselors who may be experiencing trauma, secondary trauma, or vicarious trauma regularly may find that post-traumatic growth can increase their emotional resilience as well as help stave off compassion fatigue. This kind of resilience can further their ability to maintain an exceptional level of care while in their positions, as well as help, contextualize their own experiences, creating an atmosphere that is more focused on healing for all involved. Post-traumatic growth is a transformative process where a person can persevere through their traumatic experiences and find a personal change for the better in their lives. With a new frame of reference and a new outlook on their own lives and world view, those going through post-traumatic growth may realize their strength as well as the strength in others, working to build others up in the community and be more receptive to the needs and struggles of their peers. The positivity and potential for healing that is felt in the atmosphere of post-traumatic growth can then help continue to empower others to make positive transformations, even after the most difficult of experiences or traumatic events.