What Is Post-Traumatic Growth?

Trauma changes people.

And for someone who just wants life to return to “the way it was,” this can be difficult to accept.

But in some cases, people have not only been able to bounce back following trauma, they’ve also been able to experience growth.

In the video below, researcher and author Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD offers her insights into what contributes to post-traumatic growth.

Take a look – it’s just about 4 minutes.

This video was taken from the Next Level Practitioner training program where members receive a daily video full of practical insights from one of the top 25 experts in our field. That program is not open for new members right now, but if you want to be on a waiting list in case it opens up, please click here.

How will you use these ideas in your work? Please leave us your thoughts in the comment box right below.


Please Leave A Comment



  1. If we’re talking about PTG, I highly recommend “the choice” be Edith Eger. This quote is written on the cover:
    ‘A gift to humanity. One of those rare and eternal stories that leave you forever changed'” – Desmond Tutu

  2. Mary says:

    Thank you for the contrast perspectives with regards to the holocaust survivors. As I have chosen to move through my own trauma, I too faced the guilt of choosing to find joy in life and was able to resolve it by acknowledging that if something better doesn’t come from our experiences, what is the use of living?

    I now, use my own experience to assist my clients in coming to terms with the choice that lies ahead for them in what they can receive from this experience that will allow them to grow from the experience in ways they never imagined possible if they are willing.

  3. Dr Vasuprada Kartic Godavarthy says:

    While there are those who are able to reach the Post Traumatic Growth by themselves or learning from the experience in a positive manner, there are those who remain in the state of Post Trauma.

    if they have to understand their potential for Post Traumatic growth,It is important to guide the client to revisit the traumatic experience, after they are able to handle it better, to SEE what they did during the situation and in the course of the recovery and resolution. This helps in the client actually see themselves not just as ‘Victims’ but as someone who was ‘Able To’ deal with the situation.

    The latent strengths that were till then not noticed, get actually acknowledged by the client himself or herself who till then was unaware of those strengths.

    My own personal experience of traumas have taken me through phases of propulsion and stagnation. What I have time and again noticed personally, professionally and even Socially is that human beings have the tendency to nurture the wounds not working towards healing whenever the environment allows this luxury.

  4. As most of you know, I was severely burned at six months old and was left to die. The first two hospitals refused to take me in as there was no point in treating me and babies were not considered to be able to feel pain back in the early 60s. (This was in Singapore, where I was born.) Fortunately the third hospital took me in and grafted my skin for several months. They gave me no pain relief and for the first two weeks they simply observed me whilst they waited to see which areas would heal, which areas needed grafting. I had no pain relief, not even during during operations – only a drug that immobilised me.

    Without doubt this impacted the way that my brain is wired. My early attachment was shot/shocked to bits and because it happened so young I didn’t even know that I was any different from anyone with secure attachment. I just grew up the way I was – thinking I was ‘normal’. I had my last skin graft when I was turning four years old and I remember clearly how terrified I felt, how desperately alone and how I longed for someone to be there for me.

    Things only began to come to light when I was a teenager and became very perfectionist. It was a method of controlling the very uncontrollable environment I was in but I didn’t consciously know that. And also, physiologically, I wanted to look good and fit in. I was attractive but not skinny as I was hockey captain at school and have always been very muscular. Anyway I decided to lose those ‘extra’ few pounds and before I knew it I was caught up in desperately losing more weight and feeling fatter. (I have discovered that when my weight goes below my own normal, I feel fat. My own normal is at the top end of the weight charts for my height. It took me 40 years to realise this.)

    Anyway, in the spirit of sharing, in the spirit of being an expert by experience, I shall reveal that outwardly I was succeeding, successful, getting into the best universities, having a ridiculously high IQ, able to cover up and appear ‘normal’ without even realising I was doing it.

    I did find myself drawn to mother or father figures and I would hide my desire to be near them and receive affection from them. The need for love and caring inside was so huge that I feared I would be laughed at, ridiculed, shamed and mocked if anyone knew. It made me very unhappy but I threw myself into my academic studies and my various degrees and work and that mostly distracted me from my inner pain.

    Whilst doing a PhD at Durham I began to increase my meditation practice and ended up going to India. Some of you know the story of what happened there. I was actually chasing a father figure, chasing the attachment that I had always longed for but didn’t even know I was desperately needing.
    (The story of the various challenges of my life are on my website http://www.Heartandmind.org
    ‘my own challenges’.)

    When I eventually got back from India it took me three months to find a private therapist who would take me on a ‘what I could pay’ basis as I was completely broke both emotionally and financially. I remember in my very first session she leaned forward and put her hand on mine as I tried to tell her that I had ‘gone through something very difficult’ in India. I froze. I looked at her hands on mine. It felt like her hand was defrosting me and if I began to melt the pain would be more than I could bear.

    She also froze. She felt she had done the wrong thing. But because of that hand on mine, (the first touch of kindness I had had in a very very long time,) I returned for my second session with her. I worked with her for 18 months and I was 26 years old. I discovered that actually emotionally I was carrying a small crying baby, frightened, Terrified and in fear of more torture and more pain. At first I could not be touched at all. It only caused pain. After about six months I asked her for a hug. It took me three sessions to say it. When she hugged me, it felt like my heart broke and I cried for weeks and weeks. Fortunately, she was very kind to me and supported me through this. (She is still a friend to this day and recently I took her out for lunch.)

    I only left therapy with her because I was offered a very good job and I wanted to “get on with my life“. But I was still nowhere near healed of my early traumas, never mind my adult traumas.

    I searched out a therapist. He was male. He introduced me to how it felt to be a small child and to be loved and held and cherished by a father. He was perfectly safe and in fact he was there at my wedding as my father figure.

    In getting married I had to move and although I kept in touch with him I was 400 miles away from him. I found a new male therapist who was recommended and I worked with him very well for two years. Again most of the issues were about the traumas and the broken early attachment and a lot of work was done in learning to trust and learning to feel safe with another human being who was a parent figure.

    Unfortunately this therapy went terribly wrong and this man sexually abused me over the last six months of therapy using the information he knew about me to enable him to gratify what he later termed his ‘sex addiction’.

    I refused to go to any more therapy and only broke this personal vow when I was severely and viciously bullied by a well-known compassion teacher 15 yrs later. His various co-teachers colluded with this and in the end it ended disastrously as I had to report attempted rape by another person in the organisation. This organisation refused to address this problem, swept it under the carpet and ostracised me for saying what I did. So I had to leave as it was not safe for me to work somewhere where bullying and sexual assault was not addressed but hushed Up. Both perpetrators got away with it but the sexual predator (who had already raped one woman) four years later seriously lost it and murdered the founder. (If they had only listened to me, they would’ve realised he was unstable. But they swept it under the carpet and ignored it. And the Bully put his own friends on the anti-bullying committee so he is still going strong, still bullying people and still teaching compassion in public and continuing to bully women. According to people who know him, I was the eighth woman he had done that to.

    Anyway, about this time, Paul Gilbert invited me to come to Derby in March 2009, to take art in a three day event teaching CFT to professionals. On day two he asked us to look at shame and all of a sudden the thing that I was most deeply ashamed about, was suddenly right in my face. I coped that day but I look back and know that was when I knew I needed help again.

    Three months later the bullying from the compassion teacher truly broke me. His finale was to go for me in front of my colleagues , twice in 16 hrs. Each time was over 45 minutes long, he had foam coming from his mouth as he spat out his venom and attacked me, my parenting, my husbands job as a professor, my ‘total inability to teach’ , – basically finding any way in to destroying me. Although some of my colleagues have admitted being traumatised by simply observing this, when the bully told them all to join in saying what they didn’t like about me, (!) my student who was after my job and wanted me gone, joined in with glee. This bully was a father figure to me and I had encouraged him to set up a Masters course and encouraged him to think about creating it from 2007. I also let him take over some of my retreats and I led my students to him, One of whom, unbeknown to me, had her eye on my job and was determined to get me out of there.

    Anyway, he succeeded in breaking me. His own teacher told me that the bully was extremely mentally unstable and dangerously jealous of me and my own meditation ability. The head of the entire organisation, who lives in India, insisted that I move away from this organisation and keep away. It meant that I lost my workplace, my work, My income, my spiritual family, most of my friends, And experienced huge grief and loss. Even to this day, the organisation Refuses to address the problem and also has never replied to any of my letters asking for an explanation or an apology.

    So I went to my GP and started some counselling and to my great horror truly attached to the female counsellor. I loved her with a passion of a small child and could not bear being away from her. Every second away from her, (every minute, every day, every hour was agony). Can you imagine how ashamed I was to admit this? I did not know what was happening to me. Eight hears ago I did not know about attachment problems.

    I was now 48 years old and I have brought up two children myself and had a career so how could this possibly be happening now??

    It got to the point where I couldn’t stop crying, even when I was teaching . I was missing her so much that I was crying through the night. She read me stories, she cuddled me, she allowed me to take my teddy bear into sessions and she delighted in the mothering of me. Unfortunately when I hit rage, 18 months later, She sent me an email out of the blue terminating the therapy. You can imagine how I felt. I literally felt like I’ve been thrown over a cliff and I was falling.

    My GP redirected me to secondary services and I was given a male psychologist. I explained that I did not want to see a man, that I did not feel safe with a man. I was told he was the only person available and it was either him or nothing. He was also not trained in trauma. I met with 22 private therapists trying to find somebody else who would work with me and not be terrified of me. I had no luck. Reluctantly I kept seeing the male psychologist. At about 18 months in, he began to get the hang of me and would hold me when I got really distressed. Again I attached to him. Even more strongly than the previous counsellor. This was so totally full on that I had to give up work and live off my savings. I encountered six years of pain and anguish and confusion. I tried to teach the psychologist about attachment theory in adult mental health. It was an uphill struggle. His supervisors and his team were totally against any kind of dependency in the client and would berate me for it.

    Meanwhile I think, as I look back, I was about six months old to 2 years old emotionally. It was a terrible place to be. I really needed my daddy and I pined for him in such a way that minutes seemed like hours. I was shamed for this and found myself constantly trying to explain that I could not help it and it was my psyche and heart trying to heal itself. I asked him to be a kind of dad to me and with much discussion he eventually began to be like a very loving dad. He would give me presents and birthday cards, he would give me a note for each day when he went away on holiday, he would cuddle me and hold me when I got so distressed I didn’t know what to do, he would ring me between sessions to check how I was and I think he genuinely came to love and care about me.

    I used child size dolls to work with my distraught child. At first he refused to allow me to bring them to sessions but eventually he let me. He had enormous power in that room and I had no one else to talk to. It was very very hard. I had lost my friends because they did not understand that the Sarah who gave and was compassionate and was the yoga teacher and the meditation teacher, was now unable to give anything and was frightened and in pain. I felt ashamed of that too. So I lost most of my friends. I was incredibly lonely. It was a very long and dark five years. What pulled me through was that I was being reparented and I attached well and then started to grow and eventually I got to being a stroppy teenager. My therapist didn’t like the stroppy teenager and began to complain. I then was ashamed of my rage and my anger. I tried to explain to him that this was an inevitable state for me to go through and I needed him to be the firm father who could hear what I have to say but also help me learn how to handle the rage and the anger. I begin to talk about the abuse that happened to me when I was eight years old and halfway through this session he ends it. I thought he was disgusted by me and what had happened to me. Two weeks later his line manager phoned me to tell me I will not be seeing him ever again as the therapy is terminated. No reason given. Six years of intense twice a week therapy to zero. Suddenly.

    You can probably imagine how this abandonment and the betrayal affected me. To be honest, it looked like I wasn’t going to be able to survive it. The person I had learnt to trust, the person who had said they would never suddenly leave me, the person who said that I deeply matter to them, the person who knew how abrupt termination sent me into my deepest pain, just walked away without even letting me say goodbye.

    At this point, it was all about survival. My GP prescribed me medication for the first time: 50 mg sertraline daily. It kicked in fairly quickly and took away a huge amount of distress. Thank God.

    I also had to start using sleeping pills, up my self Compassion practices and increase my awareness that my pain was normal for any human being who had just been treated so badly. This helped me get through. I could not talk to anybody about what I was going through as no one I knew even understood therapy never mind abandonment by therapist. One ‘friend’ sent me a message at about this time informing me how pathetic I was, how ridiculously childish I was, and shaming me for needing affection and hugs.The health professionals around me disapproved of the attachment my therapist and I had forged between us (that had been so incredibly healing) and any contact with them meant that I was on the receiving end of more disapproval.

    I had to find kindness inside myself to look after myself. Psychologists and therapists were no longer to be trusted. Most friends had deserted me long before and it felt like the only person left was myself. It felt like I pulled myself up by my boot straps. It took a year before I could sleep more than a few hours each night. I had to use my knowledge of compassion focused therapy and also of mindful self compassion, to get through each hour. I cannot believe that the man I had gone to, to disclose my attachment difficulties and my absolute terror of abandonment, had deliberately forged an incredibly intense parental relationship with me and then without warning, abandoned me utterly and dangerously.

    I still, to this day, do not understand how any professional could do this to a vulnerable client.

    16 months on, and I am beginning to work again. I long to be part of an encouraging and supportive workteam and I long to contribute in this field. It feels difficult and I do not have anyone in my field enabling me to contribute. If anything, I am often met with closed doors as I am not a psychologist and I am not an academic any more. I have three decades of experience of training at depth in four religious traditions and mindfulness, meditation, yoga, self compassion, and compassion. I have not written a book. I am only known by those who know me personally. I feel I have had to learn at the very coalface and the lessons I have learnt have given me tremendous insight and depth. My teaching has improved hugely and the fact that I am only still on this planet because I had to learn a deep self compassion and kindness and caring for the wounded distraught person that I am whilst also acknowledging the tremendous courage, strength, resilience, huge heartedness and humour that I have.

    So, that is my story. I may not have a psychology PhD, I may not be
    a Lama in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, I may not be a well-known author, but I do know what I know and it has taken me decades to come to this level of understanding of the human condition.

    That is why I always say to people: please be kind, to yourself and to others for you do not know burdens we carry.

    Thank you for reading this. I hope it may help you gain insight. It is not the full story. In fact it is probably about five percent but it is at least a rough overview.

    I have also written it because I wish to be known here and understood. We all long to be known and understood and seen. I have come through so much, and I would like the wisdom I have gained from these experiences, to be useful to alleviating the suffering of others.

    Thank you for reading this. Sarah.

  5. Barbara Caspy says:

    I ask clients who have been through traumatic experiences how their experiences have helped them to grow in a positive way. Asking the question makes them realize that positive growth is possible after such bad experiences, which is helpful for them in not feeling as victims.

  6. Vasilica Vasilescu, PhD says:

    Each trauma is rooted in an event/situation : social, physical/violence, moral values, family social values, incidents/death, horrors, and so on .Each trauma is treated by us with different techniques.
    For me , in order to heal myself over the years I used different techniques: role play, hypnosis ( create alternatives), created a special visualization by zooming In and Out of the incident (exp: in MD Anderson Hospital I cleaned with my hands my husband’s legs necrosis and the entire flash was down up to the bone in my hands ) , and finally what was helping me the most in the last year ” was to give up of repeating the “process of the trauma” and looking at the present/outcome consequences of the trauma in my life. This is also a culture issue. I feel confident and in control. No more long crying.

  7. Lisa Majors says:

    I am a “post-traumatic growth” human being. I wanted to get better, not bitter from a 1985 brutal assault that left me with physical bodily damage, PTSD, a broken marriage, trauma from a criminal trial experience and more. It was devastating and rocked my world for years in a prison of pain and fears and scar tissue grew to start cutting off my jugulars in my neck. This scar tissue growth almost took my life until medical help discovered the problem and fixed it in 2005-2009. This experience has shaped me into a rich grateful wholehearted person and launched me into a passion to give back to others who are like me when I was stuck in a pit. Growing and healing only come when the soul gets healed. My body injuries were nothing compared to the hurt of my heart and soul. My spiritual health and connections to my treasured loved ones are the vital life force to healing beyond the pain. I thank God for the pioneers who searched and studied Neuroscience, human behavior, and solid core theology.
    When I was first diagnosed with PTSD in 1985 there was little help but now there is great medicine and real solid help to heal quicker. Thank you to all who are working in this field to help the wounded.

  8. Anke says:

    I know I am a traumatic grower….I have done it a couple times, even I never thought it is possible. My inner images and creativity is supporting me there. Following my heart and intuition. For some reason there is a force in me, that when I am out of a cycle again asks: ‘THAT IS IT? NO WAY!’ Making a difference for me and my kids, is a huge drive for me, even sometimes this drive seems be gone, it is coming back. Grateful. I am just right now on the up again. So fed up with the cycle when life throws too much at me, and maybe I just need to accept how it is and appreciate my system, it is making sure, I am aware of my limits. To take actions for self-care. Every cycle i learn more and can get faster out.

  9. Aspasia Holley says:

    I thought this was interesting. Thank you for sharing this. I saw something recently that I feel ties in to this. It was about seeing a cup half full or half empty and optimism. The perspective was that we should try to see both. Appreciate the fullness in the glass and be grateful for that. But, also to recognize there is room for more and find ways to fill it. The idea was not to become stagnant, thinking our glass should just stay half full, while giving gratitude and recognition for what we do already have. Anyway….food for thought.

  10. I can only talk about my personal experience… I found that working on healing my trauma has given me a clarity that I didn’t possess before. it is as if the trauma veiled everything that came afterwards with a layer of confusion, doubt and bewilderment, and this led me into difficult situations in itself. My trauma recovery gave me understanding and perspective, which in turn gave me conscious control over the course of my life changes: it doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes any more but it means I can learn from them because I can observe and analyse what is happening much better. This of course makes me happier. I remember feeling like I was thrown this way and that like a rag doll by life’s events previously. Now I feel more empowered to act according to what is happening, rather than just react. I also feel a much better mother, because I can hopefully pass on that wisdom to my children. This gives me hope that they will have an easier, happier life than I had. I feel I can also help friend and students who need support. That feels very important for me too.

  11. Linden says:

    Treaustralia.com.au and being born again as a Christian were the two main game changers for me. I’m still be traumatised by the repercussions of ex stalking > moving into my building > becoming Secretary of my body corporate as a renter using his sons proxy > being on body corporate building committee as an architect. But now I can recognise when. I’m in shock because of the physical trauma release. I wish my trauma therapist and doctor better understood this process.

    • Aspasia Holley says:

      Amen! I understand completely. I’m sorry you are struggling with this. I try to thank my body for protecting me and tell myself I am safe. Deep breath’s into my belly and my feel grow ” roots” into the floor. EFT tapping has helped, and deep compassion for myself. As my body and mind see me navigate one reaction at a time I build trust in myself that I can get through it. It’s been a slow and difficulty process and find myself frozen in fear with tingling arms and legs a lot. But, I tell myself it’s a practice not perfection. Good luck my darling, I hope you find what works for you!

  12. Mary M Zwez says:

    Came back from an abusive marriage after twenty-three years . I am enthused, I am grateful to God, my church, my friends. I am more involved for causes I believe in. My advice to those in distress: Get help, go to support groups, be good to yourself, love yourself, be kind to yourself and treat yourself God loves you! Do for others, you will be surprised how much you receive in return.

  13. JANE LESSMAN says:

    I appreciated Sonja Lyubomirsky comments regarding happiness and its value in seeking it out after a traumatic event. Living in the present and focusing on daily goals have been two essentials in helping some of my clients work through life after the traumatic incident. The time to reflect and identify truth from the traumatic event has also assisted the client to move forward.
    Eager to learn more from other’s experiences in this area.
    Thank you, Jane

  14. Joey says:

    This video really resonates because our perspective totally matters when it comes to recovery! For me, the stroke of insight that catalysed post-traumatic growth was truly internalising the idea that trauma isn’t who I am, it’s just something that happened. After that I was able to heal and grow because trauma was no longer my identity. I could let it go. The philosophy of Alan Watts, Eckhardt Tolle’s work, and Irving Yalom’s work helped me in various stages to get there. Alan Watts’ world view was the final piece of the puzzle actually. But to get these insights programmed into my subcortical systems, I also needed body-based therapy (tried a new one called CRM). Once all of the old emotional and motor patterns related to the trauma were cleared, my mind was free to truly understand and live the cognitive insights I had collected over years of seeking answers and relief.

  15. Betsy says:

    I think it’s important to understand that the bad things in life don’t have to control you, and that it will pass one day, thus reflect and see what you have learned from the experience for tomorrow is a new day

  16. Halsy-Taylor says:

    How to foster “traumatic growth” was NOT addressed here. We all know that people respond to trauma in different ways. We also know that a variety of factors contribute to the “growth response”. What would be valuable is to learn what specifically “fosters” (your word) the ability to go beyond healing, i.e. expanded consciousness, new meaning, increased gratitude. Identifying the capacity necessary to foster growth out of negative events requires more than surface observation. Is it not possible that some people simply aren’t neurobiologically equipped to invoke this response?

  17. Ginger Ingalls says:

    Very accurate in my experience. Meaning is key, whether more spiritual growth, acknowledged, or not.

  18. Gianna says:

    I help them explore their core values those they would not compromise on and which they would protect at all cost. I have found that many of my clients begin then to focus on what they want to be about and what they want their life to be about. The event causing a trauma becomes their crossroads: an opportunity to take stock, to get clear about what is most important to them. I invite them to go on a quest and attempt new things they have never tried before, or things they always wanted to do and never did start. Following a motor accident, a client could not do her old job any longer because of her new physical limitations. Over a few months, we looked at jobs /activities she could perform whilst sit. She discovered she enjoyed painting and other arts and crafts activities. By the end of therapy she told me that had it not been for the accident she would not have found out about her artistic talent. Her quiet life at home also helped to get in touch with her own self and had brought out parts of her she liked and was pleased with. Paradoxically her accident event had changed her life for the better, notwithstanding her new physical limitations she was a happier woman.

  19. Sharron says:

    Thanks for sharing this information. I am experiencing something like what kathy describes. My own experience has been that I seem to have ‘woken up’ . I have CPTSD. The thing I have struggled with is not only my trauma, but the lack of growing up, because my family were mired in anger and dramas. The main impediment to healing was living a ‘story’ of life, rather than life itself. To heal I had to disengage from therapies and find my own way. I found that all the disciplines have a culture and a belief system, which seems to be invisible to the practitioner themselves. I am so grateful that healing and happiness do not depend on ‘getting help’. I am grateful to the researchers in Neuroscience that have shown us more about how our brains and bodies work. It has really helped me in my healing. Thanks to NICABM for sharing your information.

  20. mary says:

    Actually I agree totally that you can become stronger after adversity.Trauma makes you work harder to survive, therefore it is called a strive to grow process.Yes you can get knocked down low,but striving to reach higher can take you in the end to a higher point.Then, you become more appreciative of life itself.

  21. Catherine Cherry says:

    I do this for myself and with my clients. First, I honour the grieving process, the fear and the anxiety, the questions of, “How will I go on?”, How will I handle this?” I talk with friends. Then even before I feel better, I try to do something loving for someone else. This takes me out of myself, empowers me, and establishes me as a person who still has the power to contribute to the world, even in my inadequacy. Personally, I pray and open myself to God’s love and grace, to strength, and to a new vision of life. Gradually, ever so gradually, I begin to live in a new way, and discover that I have grown. Gradually, ever so gradually, I become aware of what I have learned, and that I am more than before, and I like who I have become.

    I connect clients with community, breaking their isolation, and eventually they too like who they have become.

    • Anya says:

      Good protocol! I thank you for your mention of “gradually” as we do tend to want to rush through or shortcut process and get to Well, whatever that means for us. I am repeatedly told I am not “patient with the process,” though I am learning.

      I have found, too, that my experience of prayer and God’s grace in my trauma recovery were nothing like what I had experienced in church settings that were often traumatizing in and of themselves. The wild and unpredictable mercy of grace defies the boxes we may try to force it into, reaching out to us through those mediums we can handle. At times, this may be as simple as the peaceful feeling of a cat purring on your lap or a dog’s head on your knee. Grace comes in many forms.

    • Luann says:

      Serving others is key in knowing that we have a place to live from in this world. A place that deeply satisfies. I Agree with you Catherine… It is important to like who we have become through each growth experience.

    • Gianna says:

      That’s very beautiful Catherine – very loving and gentle. Thank you :)

  22. Gary Groesbeck says:

    I’m very interested in memory reconsolidation and Coherence Therapy. Have you covered this in the past?

  23. Tammy says:

    Thank you so much for your insights. As a ball bounces or not, depending on the surface, so are we resilient based to a great degree on what our “surface” is composed of. My mother and father, both Holocaust Survivors, had very different bounce back.

  24. Andrew Leso says:

    Tell PTG : “you (AND send intuitively your “PTS Resilience, Meaning, Story, and Happiness…..”heart felt love.”

    Grateful to my “mentor” ,


  25. Kathy Ryan says:

    I can relate so much to this after a bad fall 18 months ago. I’m 77 years old and feel I’ve been cheated out of a healthy old age

  26. Sonya, can you give the details of the quoted research by Laura King, please>
    thanks a lot

  27. Donya says:

    When severe trauma occurs there is a corresponding loss of meaning. Relationships, activities, comforts that once brought pleasure and joy are no longer meaningful. Old familiar thinking patterns no longer work. Clients are left with a sense of not knowing how to think, to bring about meaning.
    I propose that it is essential to hold the despair, become familiar with it. Finding meaning in the despair moves us towards the opposite, hope. It is by acknowledging the feelings and the meaning making opportunities available here that extensive psychological and spiritual growth can emerge. Meaning making transformation leads to greater spiritual and psychological growth, beyond the pre-trauma level.
    As therapists, our role is to find the meaningful threads in the clients narrative and collaboratively weave them together to form a tapestry rich in meaning.

  28. Dee says:

    Excellent! Thank you!!

  29. E. Charles Velnosky PhD., ABPP says:


  30. David Lillie says:

    I have run into this phenomenon a few times, however, I have a different take on it. This video seems to imply that it’s a matter of intention and belief, but what I’ve seen it just the result of healing early trauma. When a person has an early trauma, for instance at age 2, they are left in a state of distorted reality, which then colors all their experiences from then on. Then, perhaps at age 20 or 30, they have another traumatic event, which has extreme, unexplainable results, which leads them to seek help from a trauma therapist, like me. When we work through the recent trauma, it only partially relieves the symptoms, and then leads back to the early trauma, which they have no memory of, because we don’t normally have explicit or narrative memories before age 3. However, if we work through the trauma via the symptoms, we eventually resolve the trauma. When that happens, the person then finds themselves experiencing “reality” as sit is in the present, without the distortion of the early trauma. At first, this is very scary (everything seems TOO real), and they will often revert back to the old reality. but if we persist, they soon adapt to the reality of the present, which is much better and more beautiful and gives them more capabilities and choices than they have had since age 2. This is not just post traumatic growth, more like post traumatic transformation. A similar effect happens for most resolution of less significant traumas, and I think that’s the main cause of post traumatic growth.

  31. I really appreciate this video

  32. Thank you so much!

  33. Jane says:

    Thank you to those who have posted. Voices in a song of resilience… Each trauma in my lifehas taught me something more about the messy complicated experience of being human. I am inspired by the women who on this posts who have taken their resilience and reached out to write and hold others in a field of hope. I feel such hope for the world as we deal with one trauma at a time…

    We/I no longer have the same innocence after trauma- whether it be an accident ( bad, hard things happen), rape (people take their pain and confusion and fractured selves and inflict it on others), bad parenting and pathology, (So much unconsciousness) and more. How do we assist – courage to own all the parts and walk through the pain. I loved Sonya’s story of the Holocaust survivors – sometimes we/i need to remind ourselves/ myself and have a PRaCTICE of opening our eyes to the joy of this planet, each other and being alive.

    One trauma at a time – a net of care and resilience and hope in a world which is exposing the wounds and feels like its on fire. Ruth, thank you for this most magnificient work you do to bring this to us, our clients and a hurting world. .

  34. If the survivor can set a future goal for themselves after a trauma, they’ll find a way to reach it. If the survivor gets a lot of support, it’ll be easier for them.im talking from first-hand experience.

  35. I work with clients who have experienced trauma and I am a trauma survivor. I’ve chronicled my own journey in my new memoir, “An Imperfect Pilgrim: Trauma and Healing on This Side of the Rainbow”. What I have discovered–and use with my clients–is mind-body practices that help keep us present, breathing practices that help improve parasympathetic activity, and practicing self-care and self-compassion. All these practices have helped me not only return to a state of happiness, but have increased my own level of happiness and joy.

  36. A friend shared this video with me and I thank you for giving me a catch-phrase for my growth! I am one of these individuals who have experienced post-traumatic growth. I have a C-PTSD diagnosis, after experiencing multiple traumas throughout my childhood and into my adulthood (sexual molestations, rape, bank robbery, murder, alcoholic parent, abusive parent, and more), resulting in severe panic attacks for over 25 years. I finally found EMDR therapy in 2013 and am still processing my traumatic events 4 years later. However, I am the happiest person I know. I live a life of joy and tranquility. Yes, I experience down days and irritable moments, as all humans do, but my overall state of being is one of peace. And I never thought that would be possible. I meditate, do yoga, take nature hikes, read everything I can on brain plasticity and habitual patterns, journal, am writing a book, speak publicly at events such as The National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, produce and co-host The Healing Place Podcast on iTunes with a therapist friend, run the Sammie’s Bags of Hope project dispersing bags filled with “trinkets of hope” to children our therapy dog, Sammie the Labradoodle, works with in a Registered Therapy Dog role (www.sammiethedoodle.com), wrote a children’s book “The Doodle with the Noodle”, own and operate my own business (InvizaShield) and am mom to 3 amazing kids with my partner.

    Thank you for your work in helping those of us who strive to not only overcome our trauma history, but to thrive. My secret formula comes down to two factors . . . faith and positivity. By faith, I am not talking religion. I am talking about believing in something. Anything. But, believing that joy is possible. Believing in love, in angels, in trees, in light, in unicorns, or oneself. And positivity speaks for itself. I learned to treat myself in a gentle manner, with love and kindness. My foundation of faith and positivity helped me survive my hell on earth. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

    Take care and peace to you,

    • I’m so happy for you

    • Anya says:

      Amen, and good for you! Thank you for sharing. I have CPTSD, too, (and a similar survival list) and use EMDR, as well as other practices, including gratitude, self-compassion, mindfulness, various forms of meditation, spiritual connection, acupuncture, and herbalism. The best way we can honor ourselves for having made it through all that mess is by moving far beyond the level statistics say we were to have to a life of joy and peace. Blessings to you!

    • Nick says:

      Thank you for sharing!

    • JB says:

      Thank you for sharing your story of hope and joy.

    • J. Dragon says:

      Thank you so much for your words and energy of power and resiliency!

  37. I worked with a woman in her 40’s whose father was very ill; she could not accept that he would soon die (a matter of months), and kept thinking of “cures” that would not work. She was not married and had no children, and had returned to living with her parents; she was closer to her father than to her mother. We worked for quite a while on death being a part of life, on the good things she would remember about her father, and her other feelings about herself and her family; by the end, she could tell her father that she loved him but she could let him go where he needed to go. He had told her he wanted to die, and she listened. I affirmed that this was a a great gift she could give him. I think that by facing her traumatic reality, rather than staying in denial, she was able to grow, and to acknowledge both her own feelings and those of her father — and I think this change became a lasting part of her sense of self.

    • Rachel says:

      Well done brilliant work! My late Father was calling out to carers in his nursing home for months that “I am going to die today”. They wrongly told him “no you are not Dr X, you are fine”.. His real communication, which they failed to realise was “I WANT to die today”. It was only when I recognised this and told him we were ready to let him go” that he was able to die peacefully 10 days later. He had been concerned to save us the pain of losing him but the price he was paying for this was too high. Moral: listen carefully for what people are really saying, false reassurance is abusive.

  38. Wendy Robinson, Social Worker, Cape Town, South Africa says:

    I usually get a client to look at the positive things that have come out of the traumatic experience – help them to mourn their losses caused by the trauma and focus on what they still have, the qualities and skills that they can develop and the experience they have gained, and ways of protecting themselves against a recurrence of a similar trauma, when appropriate. I introduce them to ways of keeping in the present, keeping a journal and different breathing exercises which help to centre themselves when they feel out of control.

  39. Loretta Root says:

    Ummmm, I’m a survivor of an alcoholic, violent pedophile father who was an equal-opportunity pedophile – equally likely to engage the neighbor kids in his deviancy as to do it to his own daughters alone. I’m not a medical professional, but came across your postings and “subscribed” in order to figure out how to work through my issues on my own. For perspective, I’m 60 y.o.; my father died last year when he was 95 y.o., and he never subsided from being, nor apologized for’ his sexual offenses toward his family and neighboring children.

    While I’m interested in seeing what/how you train other psych practitioners in their work with people such as I, I’m not really in a position to pay for classes much less have the background to comprehend the nuances of the lectures. While I have a substantial medical understanding (by virtue of reading medical journals from the age of 12 to the prsent), my layman’s expertise in psych is minimal.

    • Lisa Majors says:

      Yes healing in a community, a safe non-judgemental support group to hear your voice is important. Mending the Soul support group helps many to heal and get beyond the wounds. Check out Mending the Soul.org site to find groups near you.

    • Ali says:

      Loretta – thank you for sharing…I am so sorry about the childhood sexual abuse you experienced. In addition to therapy and EMDR, a 12 Step group called SIA – Survivors of Incest Anonymous has helped me a lot. You can find out more online and download literature for a very minimal cost. For me, I need healing to take place both Independently and in community. All best wishes to you!

    • K says:

      Do you have the ability to purchase books?
      The body keeps the score by bessel van der kolk
      The power of now
      Tre exersices by David berceli
      Keep following and subscribing to things like this and purchase a membership if you can. Far cheaper than therapy. because the more education you have the better obviously doing what you can to stay present ground your self and fill your life with things that make you happy also get any and every book you can on worthiness and or self love or any free information you can get on the internet. Just use your better judgement when you find free stuff on the internet books too
      Also google or Youtube “EFT”

  40. Renae Ogle says:

    I work with combat veterans and women with MST related PTSD. I’m a survivor of domestic violence and early childhood parental Lias myself. My own journey of loss and trauma and coming back to go beyond my original self serves as my model. By that I mean I know it can be done so I present a very positive model. As a social worker and One who survived her own depression by being validated, that is sort of where I begin. There are some who seem to be in denial that the trauma has impacted them, there are others who embrace that effect. First off I find the process to be extremely subjective that is to say no two going to respond in the same way. I am an EMDR trained therapist, however I find that professional use of self is extremely valuable to me. So there is a presence that I bring that honors and validates them that I think is helpful beyond measure. Lately I have been embracing the presence or mindfulness model more and more. I do think the EMDR processing of the trauma is or can be in some cases quite Healing, but there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all.

  41. Rama Bassham says:

    I work with teens and find that many of them retain the mental flexibility to understand how to incorporate a new story for themselves regarding traumatic events. They often want to move on, since they are still developing rapidly, but don’t know how to do it. With help, they can learn to make meaning out of the trauma and ultimately increase their resiliency. The challenge is sufficient time and consistency, while other areas of their lives remain stable.

  42. Thank you. I find that clients who are recovering from trauma display a degree of resilience especially when there is meaning in their life. Often this meaning is in reaching out to others who have experienced trauma either by spoken word, blogs or support groups.

  43. We must also take into account the person’s life before the traumatic event. Someone who has experienced trauma as an adult will possibly recover and experience growth more readily than someone who has had early trauma, whose journey/recovery might be slower. Nevertheless I do believe based on my experience that growth is always a goal andpossible.

    • Louisa says:

      I have experienced this and seen it in some clients. Much more difficult when there are multiple traumas and they take place during formative periods of the personality.

  44. Marta Luzim says:

    Life is not an either or, it is an and. For Trauma survivors it is a process of resilience and growth. It is a journey. It is an and. As long as one shows up and stays on the journey, goes at ones own pace, they are resilient. Even if depression and anxiety occur.
    As a practitioner of trauma and as a survivor myself, the recovery process is about wisdom, creative and spiritual choices not necessarily happiness. It is learning to build an emotional soul and body and receive all of life. Happiness is a feeling like all feelings. It comes and goes. It is being able to choose a lifestyle that supports self care, self love and self respect. Happiness is a simplistic conversation about resilience. I am sure those who are happier or wiser after trauma, but still have very challenging days when they are not so happy. Gratitude for life, joy for life can still be alive in ones body even if there is pain or even depression.

    Recovery from trauma is messy, clumsy, emotional and creative There are a myriad of modalities, techniques and processes that address trauma and recovery. It is an ongoing discover. Recovery from trauma is an individuation process of grief….Sandra Ray, a rebirthing teacher said, “When you begin to receive love everything but love comes up first.” That is what I believe is happening in the collective unconscious globally. We have been praying, healing and processing our trauma historical, personally and biblically since the beginning of time. We are in the process of humanizing our heart, minds and souls. Those who can be resilient are those who can have the blind faith to believe in love and healing. To keep going. To hold pain and joy. To give and receive. Right now our world is in a healing crisis. The dark night of the soul. Every survivor goes through a dark night. A questioning of their faith. It is the journey that has the power…. At the same time no one has the blue prints for the destiny of any human being. Those who cannot make it.. like my sister who committed suicide, has a destiny that I or no one can understand. Recovery and trauma is a mystery in G-d’s plan. How do we understand terrorism, racism, sexism, abuse and addiction to its core? Why do we hate? There is no real psychological answer. And there are many psychological answers. At the highest it is a mystical and universal story of becoming human. However, what I do know is being human is the most spiritual journey there is. It is an evolutionary and revolutionary process to become human. Human kind continues to indulge in genocide, fascism, and resides in power and control. As Ram Dass says, The most I can do is work on myself.” In Judaism, and I paraphrase, it is taught that when each individual learns to love and heal peace will prevail within and without. Until then we are in the Olam Tikkum the piecing together of the broken and wounded light. Each of us are at different levels of recovery. To talk about trauma, personally, globally and universally I believe we need to start piecing together and connecting the dots. Go deeper into the genetics, epigentics and cells of recovery. I might be on a soap box right now… and seemingly off topic.. but I don’t believe I am. It is such a complexity and contradiction why one person is happier after trauma than another.

    • Lisa Majors says:

      For me, the physical brokenness was healed but the inner emotions and soul was still bleeding but then my healing became real when I met the Suffering Savior/ the Redeemer. Spiritual growth brought healing to my soul and my Dis EASE was healed in my body and I walk now in peace and pain-free in my body. My body pain when it starts to rise again I know I need to press in closer to my Redeemer, Christ Jesus. Self-awareness and self-care and learning to fully walk in the Spirit with our Maker have been key to my health.

    • Rachel says:

      Any childhood abuse or neglect is Soul Murder. The child is deprived of her/his identity and ability to experience joy in life. The great Psychoanalyst Leonard Shengold calls it this and claimed sufferers’ lives are ravaged. One cannot recover one’s soul alone. Many do not know of their traumas they are buried in their unconscious. They just know they are not happy and life is a challenge. Anyone abused, their life path has been altered forever regardless of any recovery although he acknowledges that if survived, the pain can be a source of strength. Leonard Shengold MD “Soul Murder, the Effects of Childhood Abuse and Deprivation”. Yale University Press 1989. “Soul Murder is a work of great intellectual rigour and moral beauty” Janet Malcolm.

  45. Heart Assisted Therapy (John Diepold) works very good also in such cases.

  46. 18 years ago in the rural area in which I live there was a very impactful youth suicide. It was the first time the human service sector had mounted a response. Then other deaths occurred and there were questions about whether the response had played a part in the next deaths. My consultancy was asked to evaluate that response.
    One recommendation – to provide a process for recovery from trauma – was handed back to us.
    We developed a small group program we called Leading from Within – based on the idea that growth can come from trauma and with a desire to change the negative ripple impact from the deaths into a positive ripple.
    The program has just been evaluated by the University of Melbourne with very positive outcomes. The evaluation has underlined that the opportunities given for growth have been substantial. The inspiration people gained from each other in the groups assisted, and all of those who were interviewed acknowledged, the positive developments in their lives.
    The participants in our program become mentors embedded within their community and are able to support and inspire others with similar traumatic experiences.
    It is a central tenet in my work with people who have experienced trauma, to see within the difficult and traumatic experiences, opportunities for considerable growth. It’s actually exciting to see people who are open to these possibilities and my experience is that most are.
    At the time we developed the program there was not as much about the idea of Post Traumatic Growth. It’s exciting to me that there is a developing body of research about this now. There was not much known about the neuroscience of trauma then either. We have added a considerable component of Psycho-education to the program over the last 7 years. We’ve just received funding to update our website and this will be added.
    I really appreciated the comments in this video and the references to other research. Thank you.

    • Lisa Majors says:

      I have seen this ripple effect in ministry work with the abused. One single brave family member comes and receives help into healing and without any connection with other family members, then siblings start contacting the healed one and talk about abuse for the first time. There is something there about bringing light into darkened corners and touches a ? hope ? to start to arise in others.

  47. Fiona says:

    Once you experience trauma it awakens you to your humanity. It reminds
    us that trauma is not what happens to others . Trauma is
    a possibility for us all. Trauma is a subjective personal experience which happens. It is not weakness but
    the nervous system adaptive processing breaking down.

    Trauma survivors can grow and use their experience to care more compassionately for others when they find meaning in their suffering.


    • Rachel says:

      Trauma is not subjective. Sexual abuse or assault, threats to one’s life, child neglect even if very subtle and committed over time on a drip drip basis and experiences where there is no escape from the trauma being dealt out by others will murder the soul regardless of a person’s resilience.
      Trauma destroys people’s humanity. The normal reaction is to then discharge the distress by committing the same trauma one has experienced against others. Hence the cycle of crimes against humanity is continued. One example on a large scale is the trauma of the Jewish Holicaust becoming Zionism which murders and tortures Palestinians. This is a factual comment not a racist one. Non Zionist Jews I have lived and worked with all my life and have found much to admire in their conduct and faith. Zionist I have met are extremely paranoid to a degree it is almost impossible to comprehend. Trauma survivors when treated if they survive psychically can then I agree be compassionate with others etc.

      • K says:

        Disagree. When I experienced trauma all the years I did as a child I remember thinking having awareness that I want to be the complete opposite of that with my own family even during the horror I’m like I never ever want my kids to experience this

        • Anya says:

          I would also agree with K. I believe that my recognition from a young age that I wanted to be nothing like my parents was seminal in putting me on a healing path. It nudged me towards a life of healing others rather than hurting them. Some of my friends who are trauma survivors also recognized early on that the abusive treatment was not normal and actively chose to be unlike their abusers. The awareness that something is dreadfully wrong comes to survivors at different ages, but that differentiation is crucial in determining not to pass on the abuse like evil robots.

  48. Rachel says:

    Erica Merrit: the unconscious has no sense of time which is why you felt st in
    the past. We have to make friends with our unconscious and understand how it sabotaged our lives
    by allowing all the traumas of our lives to live with us in
    the present. All of the cells in the body physically carry out traumas until we get help for them. This is why psychotherapy is becoming much more body work oriented – the Central Nervous System cannot distinguish between the physical and the emotional. Descartes was wrong. The mind body paradigm has moved on.
    I agree with comment below that the vides presentation told us nothing at all.

  49. Erica Merritt says:

    I can only speak from personal experience. I grew up with a lot of violence and was an adult of almost 40 before I started to see the violence as violence and started to feel how it had negatively affected me… Some mental health professionals started to tell me to look at trauma and one told me I needed to get trauma treatment.
    Soon after that I was living in Nepal for the major earthquake that happened here two years ago and the extremely difficult year that followed here. Because there was a major disaster here.. all these trauma modalities came here with the aid work etc. I started to learn about trauma and how it affects that brain, symptoms etc. I started to recognise a lot of the signs. I learned that so many behaviour patterns of mine that I didn’t like and wanted to change were actually normal for someone who had my childhood. You could say that I was normal for my life experience. That was actually quite liberating. I stopped focusing on the patterns and focused more on being kind to myself.
    I have been learning a lot about trauma for the last two years in other ways. I sense that I became stuck in the traumatic experiences of my childhood, my body was reacting as if time stood still, as if I am still in the situation of my childhood, but I have watched Nepal, the land, the people, the country slowly recover, slowly rebuild and it is life in progress, life in motion. I have witnessed major trauma AND recovery. There is movement. There is a continued motion, not a stopping, not a stuckness.
    I have also recently taken in two kittens and I watch them get beaten up by a local stray cat from time to time. I can feel traumatised and don’t want them to ever go back out. But they bounce back and want to go out the next day. They are weary but they keep going out there.. and as the get older it seems to happen less and less.

  50. Thank you.

  51. peter says:

    A passage from Jac O’Keeffe”trauma… go see someone and get it out, find a way to heal that old
    garbage … Everything that is in your system that is
    protecting you because of your story, is only a trick of the ego to keep
    the sense of I alive(the story alive)… Trauma will bring you out of
    pure consciousness. It is never necessary to leave pure consciousness to protect
    yourself. There is only this exquisite pure consciousness, the rest is
    bullshit that you are running. Trauma becomes a back up plan for the mind to
    survive. WHAT WAS IT THAT PULLED US OUT SO QUICKLY? Take note of it and work on it. THE THINGS THAT
    PULL US OUT, they are movie MAKING MATERIAL FOR YOU to refer to that
    we do not even have to think about BECAUSE TRAUMA IS SOMETHING THAT WILL COME

  52. I believe all adversity we meet in life offers us an opportunity for growth—or the opposite, if one is so inclined.
    I also believe it comes out of making meaning of the experience and seeing choice.

  53. Andy Hahn says:

    I think there is a profound correlation between meaning, happiness and Trauma resolution. We had a client that had a terrible accident and had hurt her back so badly that she could barely sit for more than a couple of minutes. When we did are diagnostic we found out that she was stuck in a story of betrayal that, if you believe in other lifetimes originated 2000 years ago. We discovered that she was a general who had agreed to fight another General as opposed to having their two armies fight. She felt nonchalant and arrogant about this as the general. Because of this, she lost the fight was pushed over and was stabbed in the back. Her dying thought was that she had betrayed her people.

    The story of her trauma in this lifetime was that she was supposed to be watching a group of children. She was sort of nonchalant about her responsibilities and looked up and saw that one of the Children looked like he was in danger of drowning. She raced in after him, got knocked over by a wave, and hit her back on a rock. She had been basically incapacitated ever since. When she found the story of her betrayal and resolved it she felt a new sense of lightness and meaning and her story explains so much that had happened in her life. Also, she sat down because she was tired after our session and started talking with the people were at the demonstration. After over an hour, she realized all of her back pain had gone away. I kept in touch with this woman and she had had no back pain up to a month later.

    • Dee says:

      I have also found that (past) life regression has helped many with emotional and physical pain
      Like the work of Brian Weiss & Dolores Canon. It is important to have the mind, body, soul connection.

      Many have lived thru trauma and horror. I’m glad there are so many modalities and methods to help the individual. I enjoy learning new ways to help

      • David Lillie says:

        my experience is that trauma can create a link to a similar past life experience, particularly one that resulted in death in the past life. It is possible (but not necessary) to heal the past life trauma, just as is done with the currently life. but since we have (apparently) millions of past lives, this process can repeat and continue for a long time, However, if you just resolve the current life trauma, that will break the link to the past, and there’s no need to do anything else.

  54. J. Dragon says:

    I am a practitioner and Instructor of ThetaHealing Technique along with being a spiritual minister. I’ve written several books on healing abuse and been working with childhood abuse survivors for over 30 years as well as on myself. I actually completed processing all of my memories, once frozen emotions and belief systems last year from surviving 23 years of extreme childhood abuse including NDE’s. I totally integrated from DID over 22 years ago. Bouncing back to where I was before wouldn’t have been helpful. But I get the PTG, the resiliency to move beyond that. It’s very different for me.

    In what Dr. Lyubomirsky shares as happiness, I feel it as contentment, a calm knowing that all will be ok no matter what, and that I will always be taken care of by my spiritual focus. I’m more committed to my purpose than ever before.

    I’m also learning what it’s like to recognize who I really am in not having traumatic memories emerge any longer, of what a more peaceful nervous system feels like that has been discharged, to feel my body, my heart, my compassion, my power, my empathy in a whole new way. This is an integration time for me, like a babe being born.

    I pioneered a way and am very grateful to the therapists and healing modalities that were there for me to pave my path, to help shift a paradigm of trauma so others may know this possibility too. I’m so grateful that I stuck around to understand who I am in the scheme of life.

  55. Mark Swart says:

    I was surprised and somewhat disappointed seeing this advertorial. I am a therapist who has spent the past 2 years immersing myself in studying healing contexts for trauma work. Maybe my reaction is overly picky, but I see the negative side effects of these ways of thinking in the professional field, and I believe they need to be addressed.

    In my experience, there are three themes for facilitating healing of complex trauma and facilitating the emergence of post-traumatic growth that have emerged in the research and literature over time. These themes are, 1) Empowerment & Non-pathologizing of the client, 2) Supporting Narrative/Meaning making in a client-centered manner, and 3) Experiential/Somatic process/ interoception in client centered processes.

    The way this article is titled and presented, strikes me as mildly incongruous to the actual process of such trauma work, even encouraging inexperienced therapists to adopt models of thinking about clients that are likely to retraumatize trauma-impacted clients!
    Firstly, the idea that the therapist can “help’ or “fix” something, is risky top-down hierarchical model based on the Medical model) which Bessel van der Kolk has written and spoken about at length as the antithesis of what is needed for trauma healing. (Why would you take the epitome of antithesis of trauma healing and use it in an advertorial for trauma training?)
    Secondly, Promoting the idea (even in an advertorial) that the therapist is the one doing the “helping” to the client further reifies a process of disempowering clients by seeing them as the recipients of the work of the powerful therapist, (the opposite of what works – which is empowerment on the client’s terms – after all, the client is the one who is doing the transformatory work).
    Thirdly, “bounce back” strikes me as a potentially dismissive diminishment of the actual deep and often painful process of reclaiming and integrating/authoring new forms of self after a traumatic experience. I like the idea that “bounce back” seems effortless and easy, yet I suspect for many people that might not be their primary experience of trauma and recovery.
    Finally, the more deeply that complex trauma heals, the less important techniques become, and the more crucial that transferential and counter-transferential self-of-therapist work becomes. There is no “technique” to get around this – if a therapist has not done their own inner work, that incomplete part of the therapist WILL impact the client and potentially block healing or worse, retraumatize the client.
    In my experience good techniques and models of trauma therapy can accomplish superficial healing, but deeper healing only occurs when a therapist has done their own inner work and can open with the client into deep and intimate spaces, holding space for process, without being triggered.

    I have purchased trainings from NICABM in the past, but in this case I would really hesitate before considering this program – as the very manner in which it is presented seems to me to be training those who read this advertorial into the very habits and patterns of objectifying clients which are least helpful in facilitating a healing environment in which complex trauma healing and post-traumatic growth has the possibility to occur.

    I hope this is merely a mistake in the advertorial copywriting and not a reflection of the actual course material!

    ~ Mark

    • J. Dragon says:

      Appreciate reading your awareness, Mark. I so agree that the therapist or healing practitioner needs to do their own inner work.

      I do think that a therapist’s presence, creating a sacred container, in being anchored and vulnerable themselves, does help the client, so wasn’t sure what you meant by the therapist not being there to help. Guiding the client, when they are ready, to the deeper levels is helpful in my experience both personally and with clients. But if you meant that the therapist takes an ‘authoritative’ thus hierarchal position with the client, I get it in not being conducive to being in the whole co-transference energy field of healing.

  56. Patricia says:

    My life has been filled with trauma since around 3-4 yrs old. Sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse & abandoment….you name it. I will be 72 in a few days. Many have commented how peaceful I am & what a “sweet spirit” I have. This always suprises me.
    Forgiveness, prayer, meditation, yoga, bicycling & other loving self-care daily practices are what I contribute those wonderful compliments too.
    If others refused to care for or about me I must care for myself. Constant positive affirmations of my goodness & my abilities can sky-rocket my moment of sadness (which I allow myself to acknowledge & feel) but not to lie down in & accept as my destiny.
    Journaling & writing poetry also helps me to process all those “chattering monkeys” when they perch themselves on my shoulders at any given moment of the day.
    Loving & reaching out to others is easy because, due to all the trauma, of which I still experience some, I am sensitive & have an awareness of others hurt due to having walked through those same dark nights of the soul, those same valleys of the shadow of death.
    I am grateful for being able to love myself as I love my neighbor.
    Thank you for this opportunity to share a part of this myself. I just try to remember….this came…to pass!
    Bls’ns. Patricia

    • helen crowe says:

      Patricia…Love is a good trauma. You’ve chosen courageously and well and touched my heart. Thank you. There is so much pain in being alive but the pain of choosing to love (ourselves and others) is worth it. Probably the transformation of suffering caused by suffering is the way love evolves us to be able to love. Bless you.

  57. Rachel says:

    We have to be wary of the traumatised people who become therapists so that they can feel less ill than their patients.

    • ThePyat says:

      I don’t have the guts to be a therapist. I signed up for this because as a writer I need to know how people tick. I would imagine, however, that there are few therapists with stellar childhoods and that what motivates most is having been in the shoes of the traumatized and finding meaning in helping folks deal with their trauma. I find that urge noble and actual action on it ballsy in a good way. I owe a lot to every therapist I’ve ever had. I expect cattiness daily from writers, because we’re all egotistical misanthropes. You guys, however, are in the trenches, doing the hard work. I’ve got NO criticisms of you.

      • Rachel says:

        @ThePyatt anyone can set themselves up as a therapist without the requisite training. It is a job that requires a huge amount of self knowledge to tell what is the patient’s stuff and what is ones own. This can normally be gained by the requisite years of psychoanalysis required for trainees. Learning what is the transference and what is not is a skill that takes time, self reflection, guidance and maturity to acquire. There was nothing catty about my comment, it is just a factual one. Observational skills usually honed by a prolonged baby observation where the origins of personality are observed and a trained memory are also crucial. If you are taking notes in front of a patient you are not paying full attention to their verbal and non verbal communications.

  58. As a witness survivor of sibling suicide in my mid twenties, I stuffed it and zipped it and went on with my singing career till my mid sixties when i began writing my one woman play, A Gift of Madness (aGiftofMadness.com) about the legacy of multiple traumas in my family. It tells my story and my Mother’s. Both of us have found transformation and transcendence through our art. Two different generations, two different paths to Post Traumatic GROWTH. On our website you can read our story and see clips of the show, which I am touring now, and am eager for ant suggestions of how to reach the people who would most benefit from it.

  59. Fran says:

    Interesting timing.
    Most of my Healing Touch clients return to level life as before. About 5 out of 100 have made significant changes and moved on to greater happiness. This transformation did not happen over night. Through other turns and twists and processes in conjunction with counseling and medication; these 5 have changed into happier people with different jobs living in different cities. They seem to me to have found their significant self!

    Interesting video series! Thank you as I get more and more PTSD clients each day due to the State of the Nation.

  60. Sara Fernald says:

    I am a survivor of vast trauma/torture from 3 to 20. While I definitely catorogize myself as being in the PTG category, I have a cautionary insight. One of the key ways that a survivor can express PTG is in helping others. I was a trailblazer in crisis intervention services for 17 years and transitioned to being an executive coach. Through observing myself and others who are healed by, and compelled to, help others, one needs to be very aware – cautious and vigilant – about emeshment. There is nothing like the exhilletation of ‘surviving again’ being in the firery pit with another. PTG gives you an extrodinary capacity for empathy and strength to face the unimaginable. BUT, you need to ask yourself why you need to keep plugging into a recreation of life and death. You have to ask yourself how healthy your boundaries are. Sometimes you need to step back, feel another layer of your own excruciating pain, and figure out new and less entangled ways of finding meaning in helping others.

  61. Cindy Enderle says:

    I am not a doctor or phycologist. I am a woman that found out her husband had been cheating on her for a good part of there marriage. I was surching for answers and help and came across this media 4 &!1/2 years ago.
    I went to a group called COSA and came out more pissed off than I went in. I have been diagnosed with ptsd due to the way I found and and the content of what was in when I was told.

    It has taken me years to get to the place where I am at now. With the help of phycologists and a tank I am life coach I have gotten to ths point where when I talk about it I do not cry but I am moving forward with conviction.

    Honestly I think I have found my purpose in life and what to help other when who have gone through what I have gone through hy hosting a group that will allow woman to speak and feel their emotion with stating “Hello, my name is _________and I am married to a sex addict. Is I’ll be divorcedmin about three – four months and my goal is to get babtised, start not only a new chapter but anaholennew book.

    I want to find a way to help woman grow and do it in a more relaxed environment. I have been reading and have aligned my life coach to be. Guest or permanent fixture in my program. Of course the groups will start out small. But my plan is to get to the point where I can help as many woman recover as quickly as possible and find a new themselves.

    The pain and anquish of an unfaithful spouse took me down to my knees. But I am standing tall and doing better than I ever have before. I am more successful than before. I am working on realizing that I am actually much happier than I was before.

    Being separated for a year and coming up on my 35th year anniversary (I have not really celebrated the last 5) I am actually looking forward to the divorce and moving on to a nuchnhappier, healthier life ahead.

    It is possible to heal and grow from such an a horrible experience.

    Thank you.

    • Cindy Enderle says:

      I should have proofed before I posted.

  62. Abbie says:

    Interesting that a major difficult life event is equated with trauma. Of course, sometimes that is the case. Trauma, especially repeated trauma beginning in childhood, is quite different to me. Help me understand.

    • ThePyat says:

      Kate Braestrup explained the difference between trauma and a major difficult life event this way. Her husband suddenly died in I think it was an accident, and the whole community gathered around her while she was numb from grief and cooked and delivered their kids hither and yon and took burdens off her shoulders so she could mourn. She called that a major difficult life event because community served its purpose of being there for the individual. When she was a little girl, her parents hired a handyman who would watch her and jack off, and when she told her parents, they dismissed it, and so the guy continued this behavior and she internalized all that shame and violation and confusion and rage. That’s trauma, when the community or environment outside the individual throws them no lifeline and they’re stuck having to stuff down the hurt, and shame is a huge part of it, as well as rage. She said for this reason, trauma is best healed within a gentle and accepting community setting. Ed Tick says something similar. I attended some Just Listening sessions of Veterans Heart Georgia, and I do think it proved useful to all there.

      • ThePyat says:

        I have to add that this aspect of trauma where the hurt is often hidden or at least goes unrecognized cannot be underestimated, because that sets the individual up for a sense of alienation from their environment/society when the need for a nurturing communal response goes unmet. This, I believe, is an intrinsic part of trauma. Case in point, thyroid cancer can prove more traumatic than breast cancer because it’s not as recognized or known or supported and it’s even dismissed as the most treatable cancer whereas breast cancer can shower one with pink ribbons and support groups, etc. The ravages of thyroid cancer can occur inside the mind when one finds one cannot think, remember, process, deal with life on such a roller coaster…it can quixotically render one a basket case. But it’s all internal with few if any external signs excepting perhaps socially frowned-upon obesity and mood swings. Therefore, little support is there. With breast cancer, on the other hand, when one is walking around bald and missing a breast, the pity gushes forth and folks bend over backward to accommodate…because it’s so visible and THE part of a woman, is it not. Those having experienced both can grow from the standpoint of watching these differing reactions/responses and realizing how easy assumptions are made based solely on appearances and social norms. Hopefully that can make one more compassionate toward those who may be dealing with a thing not so apparent or championed.

  63. Jean says:

    This is real. Some people can bounce back from trauma. They sometimes are able to do this after moving physically and psychologically away from a physical space and find a new life. One friend did just that abd told me recently, ” I have never felt happier in my life.

  64. Jacquie says:

    I love this …… this was my experience. After carrying a wall of complex childhood and adult trauma for years, I went through an experience that caused the wall to be pulled down… there was a lot of vulnerability but for the first time there was a release of emotion … I could cry… the world is no longer grey and desolate … there is colour and hope … not only a means of survival
    This was through a spiritual experience (faith) and through trusting someone enough to allow them in….. friendship.

  65. ellen says:

    Very interesting….

  66. Thanks as ever for these wonderful inputs and opportunities to reflect. I am a huge advocate, for myself and my clients, of the alchemical and elemental perspectives on adversity. When we reflect on what specific qualities a situation required / requires us to cultivate in order to navigate a trauma, we’re not only growing towards having that quality but we’re also finding personal meaning in the trauma, as our catalyst to become more of the person we were born to be.

  67. I feel the most important thing for a client after trauma is a loving, safe connection where they feel supported and there is space for them to process their strong and difficult emotions and sensations, so they can experience their internal capacity to find their sense of ground and resiliency. Their healing is being able to process their experience and find meaning in unexpected ways and treasures along the path of healing, allowing them to become a different person that is deeper, richer and fuller from having gone through the painful event. This is truly the hero’s journey, with it’s ups and downs and difficultly that in the end one has changed it a way that one could have never imagined and has left them stronger, more courageous because they faced and dealt with their trauma. I feel one needs the space to know and feel their emotions and that they are ok and make sense because they are the road home to a new sense of self and center.

    • Abbie says:

      Thanks for this.

  68. Anton Hay says:

    I love listening Dr Sonja, thank you… enjoy the informal setting and feel enriched by the clip

  69. Joanne Nemecek, LMSW says:

    I have lived through a trauma and I find what Sonja describes as true – I am much more thoughtful in life and I have come to my own conclusions which are different from some values that I was taught. I even changed professions from nursing to social work.

  70. Susan devore says:

    This lovely little tidbit says NOTHING about helping clients grow after trauma. I’m surprised you even identified it as such. She merely offers that indeed, some people rise to higher levels. How nice for them. I’ll bet they’re a lot more fun to work with and study!

    • Abbie says:

      Sounds like what I also got from it.

  71. Don says:

    The course of trauma therapy often opens up for discussion the impacts of previous life traumas – the addressing of which can certainly contribute to a picture of post-traumatic growth and self-comfort.

    • linh says:

      I enjoy the passion Sonja showed in this presentation. Thank you, Sonja.

  72. Monte Pope says:

    I can only speak from my personal experience about growth after trauma. In my case, my partner committed suicide after I disclosed I had been cheating on him… he purpose protrayed me as the villain to our friends and family… even though he admitted he too had cheated! I really struggled with the aftermath and almost lost my life too! There was no visible growth… I appeared and felt stuck! One day, a decade later… I noticed profound gratitude inside me! It took a while to tease it apart… I was not grateful for his death… I would change it if I could… but the lessons I learned! I am a better person now as a result of his death! I am grateful something happened to get my attention and wake me up! I lean into gratitude when things are difficult now… if something as bad a suicide has a gift in it.. why won’t be current problem?

    • Jeanette says:

      Thankyou for sharing your epiphany. I can understand that gratitudeis a powerful and overwhelming experience after trauma. Letting it flood your soul is enriching and life enhancing. Thankyou again.

    • Anton Hay says:

      Thank You … shrug and lift my head .. smile

  73. Genevieve Braem says:

    Hi Ruth,
    Thanks for having shared this video. I recognize so much myself in the post-trauma growth.
    Lost my own Mum from suicide at the age of 3. Dad has never spoken about her to her 3 children (me and my 2 siblings (aged 6 and 8). I was abused by my own brother at the age of 14 (sexual games).
    Finally after having left the parental house during a turmoil (at the age of 25), I met and married the brother of my best friend. He was 37 and I was 30 at the wedding. We’ve got two gorgeous children from the marriage. When the kids were toddlers he suggested me to move from Belgium to Australia.
    I left everything and followed him.
    After a couple of years up and downs appeared more frequently in our couple far away of our roots. I started to feel something wrong and tried some family therapy. He was a pure pervers narcissist, he started to manipulate not only me but the therapist. He inherited a huge amount at the death of his parents that he put in a huge renovation of our house. I didn’t want a house, I wanted a home. And when he realised (never told me ) that he saw too big, he decided to stop working and finish by himself. He never did. I went back to work when the children were getting older. I was full time mum and full time worker. I thought divorcing in 2013 but thought no for the best of the kids !!!??? Anyway 2015 saw me descending to hell. An anxiety crisis in March 2015, followed by a double pulmonary embolism (I escaped death by a finger) in May 2015 (2 years ago on 11/5). The devil left me alone in ressuscitation room (even if he didn’t work at that time) pretending he had to feed the kids (18 and 15) and there was a nice tv program. My program was 6 doctors and nurses trying to save my life. It was not enough, he signed a contract to go to work at 3,000kms from here, leaving me and the kids alone. When I was declared on severe depression with suicidal ideation he refused to come back 3 times. Only when my GP threatened him of desertion of family (we haven’t got any family here but us) he came back but convinced me to change GP within 3 days and left again. He signed agains my consent my admission in a respite house (it was awful for me since it echoed the circumstances of the suicide of my mum) and then one month in psy ward. Finally after having lost more than 13 (yes thirteen) kilos and being able to sleep max 90 minutes a night, I was able to come back several times to help my kids to keep a householding by themselves (the first one was on last year of high school, the second in year 10…. well I thought he had to feed them … now he was leaving them 6 weeks alone). When I finally requested him (after several re-admissions to short stay at the hospital) to come back, it was the big blow of the volcano lid. Our mariage finished with police and other black legs and arms. Me splitting in front of the police, him telling me ‘How do you dare?”, the sales of our house and him turning the kids against me. My adult son being removed from my new place by the police since he became violent towards me and my own daughter telling me ‘mum you would be better to commit the same as your mum so that we will get rid of you”. Well she was one of the other weapon of her father. Nothing like that shocks me anymore since I heard from the mouth of one of the nurse in ED when I was at risk of swallowing my whole stock of medications (blood thinner and antidepressants), she told me ‘commit suicide so that your children will know who you are’.
    But …. but … as the video mentions s well I have bounced back. I’m on the other side of the bridge,I don’t recognize myself as a victim but as survivor of domestic violence. Domestic violence was daily at home (sarcasm, put downs etc without mentioning all the lies I have found during the removal proving that he asked me my inheritance of my first grandparents to make an investment….lie and liessssss he used it to refund his debts. Our arrival in Australia was not for a better life but to escape the fisc. I was stupid, I found everything when I split from him.

    Yes I bounced back, yes I’m another person. Yes I found my ownself. Yes i love myself. I lost my job during the ordeal and yes I’ve started and finished new studies. Yes I’ve grown to another person, a better one. Yes life is beautiful and worth. Yes life is a journey and yes you cannot rewind your past but you can take your past as an experience to give you the strength to rebounce.

    Thanks so much for having shared this video, dear Ruth

  74. Rohini says:

    I feel drawn to Sonja’s comment on the relationship between Meaning and Happiness and it’s potential to offer resilience. From personal experience, it was a “driven” search for meaning to traumatic experiences that enabled resilience and growth, in terms of arriving at acceptance, a growing awareness of the contextual experience in terms of time and the Why?, How? Who?, When? and Where?, and a sense of objective detachment from the traumatic event. Though not an easy ride, especially with concurrent aspirations to regain happiness also being present, I feel that with the passage of time, this “on lookers” perspective of something that caused so much pain and loss to oneself, offered some level of self-mastery and control in defining what was was meaningful and conducive to personal happiness. I am also learning (from currently living in India), that trauma may be “karmic” in nature, with spiritual growth as a necessary outcome, and this kind of makes sense to me when considering the recurrence of traumatic events in clients who are pushed to find the meaning of happiness and identify ways to welcome it into their lives.

  75. MJ Rogers says:

    I agree with Billur. most of the things spoken of in the video are not real or severe (life-threatening) trauma, which makes permanent changes to the brain and nerves. People working in the mental health field OUGHT TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE between real trauma and simple bad life experiences that anyone can get over and grow from. Treating any bad life experience as though they are trauma makes light of what real trauma survivors are going through. Real (C)PTSD is considered incurable for the most part due to its severity. If it is just a simple choice to grow from it, it probably wasn’t a true traumatic experience, because a true traumatic experience is very difficult if not impossible to heal from. This video makes it sound like people just have to decide to get better and they will, but many people with real trauma try to no avail. And people with real trauma do not need to be made to feel that the injury they suffered is their fault if it is too severe to heal. Nobody wants to heal more than them, but this kind of misleading video does a disservice to them.

    • Jason Brooker says:

      Whilst I do agree that many people today do trivialise real trauma I don’t think it is fair to say that this video does. She talks about holocaust survivors initially, and how some don’t believe they can be happy again and some do. Which suggests that much of our experience regardless of how traumatic it may be judged by others is really about what meaning we take from it.
      And I don’t think it is correct to say that real PTSD is considered incurable. What we do know is that long term neglect and low level abuse (over a long period of time) can have very similar effects on the brain as a sudden traumatic event such as rape. And what we also know now is that newer treatments such as those related to a Polyvagal approach can have a remarkable effect on helping people to recover from trauma. What this video is suggesting however is that if we can have some success in helping a client to find new meaning in their lives this too will aid recovery. This may not always work of course but I believe in principal that it is possible.

      • ThePyat says:

        “And I don’t think it is correct to say that real PTSD is considered incurable.”
        Real PTSD…that’s an interesting distinction. Jonathan Shay talks about a breach in the individual’s moral contract with society that war can create as being part of this complex called PTSD. The famous author, Tim Obrien, stood in front of an auditorium full of mental health workers and said that the day his PTSD is cured is the day he knows he’s gone insane, and he doesn’t WANT to be cured of his PTSD because that reaction was a sane response to the insane world of war…or something like that. He doesn’t want to stop feeling shocked and appalled at the experience or he feels he’d lose his humanity. You could have heard a pin drop in that room. But wow, you wanna talk about somebody drawing meaning from his trauma…his prose is effulgent. So I dunno–this is the trouble with such an umbrella term. I’ve heard of great successes with the eye movement therapy for one aspect of PTSD, I guess retraining the amygdala? I’ve heard how healing it’s been for a lot of Vietnam vets to return and do good in that country, mending that moral contract. Then you got CTE, where repeated physical impact triggers the progressive degeneration of brain tissue, which has a tangible way of dehumanizing a person. But hey, how ’bout them 49ers. Amazing to me how anyone, knowing what we know, could stomach watching a game. This work is so far from over. Instead of this talk of a cure, however real anyone deems this or that trauma, I quite wish we could eliminate all causes.

  76. Sandra says:

    What an interesting shift, bringing light to the growth after trauma. It is interesting to study why some people bounce back even stronger or more resilient.

  77. Sukie says:

    I learned a lot from this 3 minute video, thank you. I hadn’t thought of trauma and resilience in quite this way before.

  78. Debra Jo Moe says:

    after receiving EMDR treatments and excellent cognitive therapy, my life was changed! not only did I heal from the trauma 46 years earlier, my life was better, more balanced, more beautiful. I recognized that I thought differently. I thought is possibility, in boundary, in ownership of my one precious life.
    …I am soul happy now….each day is valuable, and I can FEEL..actually FEEL the emotions I have.
    I cry..but not in despair. I cry because of deep emotion. I laugh..really laugh. I have lost most of my anxiety.
    there is lilfe after trauma..a better life

  79. After multiple and intense trauma after trauma (packed into a 10 year period), I barely got over one before another climbed on top! it wasn’t until I unhooked the energy PATTERN from my subconscious mind AND from my body too. During this time, I was able to help my own clients get to resolution of their difficulties using EFT but I wasn’t getting that same response despite my own multiple weekly sessions over years using EFT (from multiple EFT/therapist). The missing piece was that the traumas weren’t broken apart and resolved before suggesting forward movement. That was a huge missing piece. I couldn’t even think about gratitude, or forward movement when I was still in reactionary, energetic, subconscious anchoring.

    • Thanks, Joanne. Can you say more about how you broke the trauma pieces apart to resolve them? What you are explaining here makes so much sense and I really resonate with it as someone who works in the field of healing but is also healing from trauma as well. Thanks very much.

  80. Melissa Sepe Chepuru says:

    Experiencing fully all the complex reactions we have with a compassionate and present witness or witnesses in a safe environment, consistently, through a period of time I think is key. If we have permission to process in our own time, in a holding environment, the human spirit re-groups. I’ve observed that on myself and others. But there needs to be an experience of safety, of trust, outside the self.

  81. Carrol laneulie says:

    By being connected to be allowed to share the experience….the U.S. is a very emotionally isolated society…I was back in Europe recently and felt I had a right to share my truth….
    America on the other hand is a paradox….wonderful books on the self help BUT!! Americans are reticent to truly feel and share…I feel they live in a bubble of deniel
    I this week left Florida for good! Am now in Atlanta and really hope with all my heart I will be a Le to meet some real people
    Thank you!

  82. Susan says:

    I have experienced trauma quite regularly from birth from adoptions, divorce, ill health, lost of work and money, very ill husband and most recently copying my husband’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. Sometimes I wonder if it will stop. I’ve had many years of therapy and always go back to my tool box. My go too place is always being aware of the blessings that come out of it and I usually rise higher than before. Even with the last 6 years of continuous challenge I can talk about the blessings that have come out of it all – mostly a sense of being surrounded by community. As an older woman of 66, I look at my future and wonder where I will end up. My resilience has never let me down and see no reason why not. I love the term Post Traumatic Growth and rather than saying I have post traumatic stress will change it to having a post traumatic growth opportunity. Thank you.

  83. Steve says:

    I get very few clients who have just one trauma. Many of my clients suffer from developmental trauma disorder which does not particularly create resilience in and of itself. It is only through more major changes in the brain over a period of time that they are able to grow from their trauma.

  84. I’d like to hear more about the individual differences that lead people who have experienced trauma to say either, “What if this (worse thing) had happened?” and focus on the ‘what ifs’ to “Thank goodness, this (worse thing) didn’t happen!” and focus on the blessings.

  85. Sherry Criswell says:

    Yes, I see where trauma can equip certain individuals fundamentally in growth. I begin that line of thought with the awakening of such a complex area in cognitive realizations which would undoubtedly lead to a more matured or “broader” perception of thought processing. Good video

  86. Dr. Geri Keskeys says:

    As an educator, I see children coming from very traumatic environments on a daily basis. My hope is that each and every child experiencing adversity has a compassionate caring adult in their life. The research on relationships is key and may be the saving grace for many of our young children. Teachers may be their only hope for a resilient life. Educators need trauma informed care training to provide a trauma informed school environment.

    • Carmen says:

      Dr. Geri Keskeys,

      I have recently gone through persona trauma and have felt the devastating effects it can have in one’s life. I am also a teacher. This year I am working with students who have experienced great trauma in their lives. I find that my personal experience provides a strong understanding and foundation for working with these students. I do believe educators need trauma informed care training to provide a safe school environment for students to begin to build a resilient life.

    • Christine says:

      Thank you. I so agree! I am a school nurse in a School filled with students with complex traumatized students… Do you have any suggestions on reading material or trainings to help me to be more trauma center informed and how best to assist students in school settings?

      • E Chase says:


      • Renee says:

        Check out the ongoing adverse childhood experiences (ACE’s) studies and research. acestoohigh.com also acesconnection.com

  87. yvonne solorio says:

    I really believe in what Sonja delivers. I would like research data on this, where to find?

  88. Kimberly says:

    I actually feel that trauma is there AS as opportunity for growth. And that is what has kept me going in the darkest times. Knowing that I would not only grow but be able to help others somehow.

  89. Lori Evangelisto says:

    I have experienced this myself. After a traumatic marriage and divorce as well as a loss of a job I went down into a pit that I thought I would never be able to get out of. I am now 10 years past these events and have started on a path that was better than before. I have found myself and recognize my strengths and weaknesses. I do believe in Post traumatic growth. This process is painful but beautiful. I am so grateful to be conscious of this shift in perception. I would love to be a part of this ongoing discovery.

  90. John Farmer says:

    Very helpful perspective on recovery after traumatic life experience.

  91. In my area of expertise, i.e., the unacknowledged trauma of competent non-disordered adults who grew up with parents with a (diagnosed or undiagnosed) serious mental illness (see: https://minerva-access.unimelb.edu.au/handle/11343/37852), I find that grief intersects and interacts with trauma in potentially powerful ways, as demonstrated via the Post Traumatic Growth (PTG) concept, i.e., post-traumatic growth as a trauma reaction by the cohort I researched after their parents’ physical death. Trauma is a normal reaction so is grief. Normalising grief and trauma reactions of this group (even if social taboo lines are crossed – and they often do!) validates this population I researched on two levels: (1) as traumatised children, when matters were outside their control due to dependency needs; and (2) as disenfranchised trauma-carrying adults. So I think happiness “potentially” connects with meaning in the PTG context but this would depend on a case by case basis taking into account all the variables I discuss in my thesis.

    • Sherry Criswell says:

      Thank you. I’m going to look at your research.

  92. April Wilson Smith says:

    I’m not a clinician, but I’m a trauma survivor and a public health researcher. I think that social support is so key to growing after trauma. If the family or social circle is not supportive or wants to deny that the trauma happened, it’s hard to heal. With proper support and love, healing and positive change can happen.

    • Barbara says:

      With proper support I think the issue really looks smaller and manageable too. I think this can help us go a long way. Struggling without support has revealed itself to be detrimental to my health in the past especially after the experience of several losses. Although family is not always there when we want it, I understood my support could means more. And the rebound becomes possible with hope and time to heal from the traumatic events.

    • Christine says:

      Thank you I free as someone with unite a history of trauma the lack of family validation and support has made healing hard… But fortunately it’s by speaking support outside of my family I have been able to heal… Still a work in progress but I find there are so many things that have helped… A validating therapist, yoga, meditation, 12 step recovery programs….

  93. After a traumatic experience, no matter How Hard or Big it was, a person needs to recover, re-engineer or even imagine their new ‘fighting spirit’ through the “CAN DO ATTITUDE’, validated by the actions and outcomes.

    As we know, crawl, walk, jog sprint is the wisest formula because there is a period of adaptation for body, mind, soul, psyche, immune system, perceptions and consciousness… before it becomes a habit and thereafter a SKILL WE OWN and practice daily or regularly. Then apply the 6P’s: Perfect Practice Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Those results will go long way to supercharge your self-esteem. But it must be gradual, consistent, persistent, unrelenting, disciplined, etc. Once this formula is mastered and you stick with the most important follow through, you will be completely amazed HOW EASY IS OUT-GROW YOUR OWN EXPECTATIONS!

    I strongly recommend using as an additional form of hobby/therapy any of the creative arts./ However, not as a job but a hobby and pastime (for me creative writing and classical music have been extremely beneficial, after 29 years suffering from Bipolar disorder type II. Today highly functioning. Many thanks for the opportunity to comment, Cheers.

    • E Chase says:

      Some are stuck in the Freeze Response. Educating about this and encouraging ‘opposite action’ can be helpful.

  94. Ada Andrist says:

    Resiliency is interesting, and I see people who are amzingingly resiliant and others who struggle. I use ACT and DBT and the skills to increase effectiveness for both sets of clients. I read and listent o experts who have worked with many people to hear what has worked for others.

    • Marcia Christen says:

      Thank you for this. I have found that the DBT skill of validating for families of BPD or anxiety/depression persons could be greatly enhanced by going beyond validation and offering empathy specifically the empathy that is in Nonviolent Communication. The intention to be with a person however they are, be present and give them a sense of being gotten is quite powerful. Having a safe space to be heard, to mourn and experience presence and acceptance can be one of the most powerful things. It seems to support people in having their inner wisdom have room to come out where they begin to have gratitude and resilience.

      • E Chase says:

        DBT is useful off-label for so many people and conditions. It is trans-diagnostic.

      • Christine says:

        Beautifully said! And I so agree!
        Just challenging to find people who have those skills to truly listen with compassion and empathy…

  95. billur ugursal says:

    Examples given in this segment do not qualify as ‘trauma’ except for the holocaust
    survivors. divorce, having children with down syndrome or coming out as gay/lesbian
    maybe classified as ‘adverse experiences’ but they should not lumped under the
    category of ‘trauma survivors’. not a compatible study group I find.

  96. Danielle STAPLETON says:

    After living through family violence for the last 8 yrs I look back at who I was and only being three months out of this situation it takes a great deal of positive reinforment and and I use CBT to help support the growth and changes I have and to combate the flash backs and stinking thinking that attacks you when you live in the cycle of abuse. I see how important it is to mourn the loss of self and fantasy of the happy family, but I am loving the visualisation I get when you talk about post traumatic growth, it shows me that I do have an Identity, I have choice, and I can be happy and be true to who I am meant to be by riding the rollercoaster with the safety gear on this time! I am free to follow my passion and give back to others.

  97. Jana Schulz says:

    Thank you zo much for this video from Sonja. And I’m absolutely agree with her statement from my own experience in my live. I’m 53 years old now, a mindfulnesstrainer and I can say that I had 2 very ‘good’ strong trauma experiences in this life. After going really down, very, very, I can say that my life is on this other level now, wat Sonja disciribed. Thanks so much for this recogniition. But I have changed and also relationships, that was in some cases also very painful for me and sometimes it feels as a lonely path? But it is not possible to go the way back. And I feel it is very important and inspirering (I heard) for younger people us a rolmodel, how to live this life.

  98. Kathy says:

    I agree that finding and doing something meaningful after going through trauma is a healing way to find happinesss. I’ve always been a person who could find the silver lining. It’s been tougher in the last few years raising a son with severe Reactive Attachment Disorder, giving up my career( which was part of my identity) to save him, and recently caring for and then losing a Mom with advanced Alzheimers, losing a precious and close brother after a grueling fight to live through an unexpected complication to surgery, as well as taking care of a Dad who targets me with his angry paranoid dementia. I’m just so exhausted and it’s tough to get the energy to invest in llooking for the silver lining, but I know it’s there and I know I will find it. I always found it in the past and just need to breathe so that I can see it clearly in that moment it becomes obvious to me. Meaning = Contentment which allows me to experience joy.

  99. Eveline Goy says:

    Some have wanted to find meaning, maybe even a personage message, in the event of abuse or the trauma they have suffered. While I fully agree that happiness and meaning have a mutual, perhaps inter-causal relationship, to seek to narrow meaning to a sole event, however momentous for the individual, might be a mistake. It can lead to a desire to implicate the person in the event, which is absurd and can lead to myth- making. However find a meaning in the largesse of life can be hugely healing and transcend the needs and imperatives of the ego. I have seen this successfully applied in recovering from trauma.

  100. clementia eugene says:

    Empowering. A new concept for me all in keeping with positive psychology. That life can indeed get better after a critical incident.

  101. Wonderful to be thinking about this topic, and to read people’s shares. Thank you. (Author of ‘The Uses of Sadness’, Allen and Unwin, Sydney 2009)

  102. Anon says:

    I agree in post traumatic growth but my question is ‘can it be sustained?’ To give a bit of context….I was sexually abused by a family member for two years starting at age 8. I then witnessed my oldest brother attack both of my parents with a kitchen knife which left my mum critically injured and which my dad tragically didn’t survive. For the next 8 years I was emotionally and mentally tormented by these events and engaged in high risk activities & became suicidal… despite hiding behind a bright and bubbly personality. At age 18 I became a chriistian and for the next 25 years I lived in freedom from this torment. I still had loads of challenges but I seemed able to overcome them by applying these biblical principles. BUT, 12 months ago an event triggered the tormenting emotions and I now feel too exhausted to mentally and emotionally cope with any more adversity. I desperately want to go back to how I was 18 months ago but just don’t seem to be able to. What do I do when I’ve experienced post traumatic growth only to return to what feels like PTSD 35 years after the trauma first happened. I feel desperate. :(

    • E Chase says:

      Those are very powerful events and emotions. DBT for distress tolerance, re-regulation, self care, boundaries, etc may be helpful for growing your coping skills — before embarking on therapy or EMDR. HTH

    • Velma says:

      Have you tried EMDR with someone who is certified to offer that? ( certified, not just trained)

    • Waki says:

      I sort of have similar path, but the collapsing started about 4-5 years ago with series of hard event, and it took at first a few years to realise that it was also very old trauma wounds resurfacing. I was difficult because I thought my spiritual life should have fixed all hidden wounds. But spirituality is not psychology, so we still need to heal psychologically the psot trumtic disrorder and not use spiritual blessings and realisations as a bypass –oh well, we don’t even notice we do so when we do. Beside therapy (including body wor, creative work and meditation) you may like to read anything on spiritual bypass. I like also Abdi Assadi’s blog as he deals wih this is a very war way.
      Astrology has also helped me understand that we go through cycles and sometimes things resurface –an opportunity to work on ourself and grow at a deeper level, though it feels horrible at times, and sometimes some astrological cycles last for years. You’ll be stronger and happier at the end, don’t give up, just do your work. And trust the divine blessing that says you are strong enough now to heal the deep pain.

  103. Debbie Davis says:

    Absolutely: Post-traumatic Growth is Possible in most of my clients. My discovery in treating adult survivors of historical sexual abuse is that within the context of a nurturing therapeutic relationship, most are able to eventually become the individuals that they were supposed to be. It is a long, difficult journey, but worth the intense work.

    Debbie Davis
    MSW, RSW

  104. Irene Marie Erckert says:

    I agree that finding meaning after trauma does foster happiness/post traumatic growth but first i believe the pain of the trauma must be honored and experienced to truly grow

  105. Sara says:

    I agree that there is a strong and positive connection between happiness and meaning.
    I find it difficult to believe that a person can truly be happy without meaning in their life. Of course we decide what meaning is for us, right? I do think we can have meaning without being happy, however. In fact, as someone who has experienced a number of losses over a short period of time, I am finding it is taking quite a bit of time to get back to “my normal”. I can see for me, though that meaning is what came back first and now I am moving toward being able to be happy again. In the beginning, I couldn’t see a path toward either.
    I do believe that we are always capable of growing so it makes sense to me that some will continue to grow after recovering from traumatic experiences. I hope to be one of them.

  106. Elizabeth says:

    Profoundly sobering. Many thanks for this radiant peak into what it means to be fully human.

    Elizabeth Agnese, M.A. (Applied Community Psychology through the Arts)

  107. Bea Schild says:

    Finding meqaning in what happened, i.e. what sense can I make of it for myself, setting goals for oneself for after the trauma, feeling as a art of a whole, etc.

  108. Marion houghton says:

    I think this is a very complex matter that involves accompanying the client on the journey. Timing would be very important… not getting ahead of the client’s process.

  109. Keri Brewer says:

    There is an excellent TED talk on Post Traumatic Growth… https://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_the_game_that_can_give_you_10_extra_years_of_life

    • vick says:

      Excellent talk, thanks

    • Bea Schild says:

      Thanks for the link, it’s interesting to see, how she links the regrets of the dying with the characteristics of post traumatic growth

  110. Janet Harvey says:

    I work with clients to help them gain self compassion rather than self reproach, greater self understanding/other and working the process towards self mastery which is a life long process. Being mindful in the power of now and that where is is no mud no lotus. There are other truths to be discovered along the way.

    • Victoria says:

      Thank you for this Janet. I have found this gentle approach creates powerful and effective results as well. We heal and grow via love and acceptance paired with the gift of insight.

  111. Ria Lawson says:

    I work with a strength based approach with people and familes I encounter in my work. This gives the focus on what the person has experienced and how it effects their life. It involves a learning aspect, a different framework of ‘seeing’, an understanding of supports & resources the person can tap into, more insights into one’s self, aresumed control over one’s life and a practical way forward. I have often seen the gilded egde of trauma in people and am moved when the people I work alongside reveals their pain as well as their strengths – thank you for your sharing and research findings on trauma experiences

  112. I made the experience by my own: abusion, getting nearly killed , the suicid of my youngest son. Coming through all this, it makes me more free, more alive, more energetic, more understanding for myself an others and leads me to the profound experience, that death is an illusion, there is only life and love. I’m a rich woman, full of thanks to existence, ready to tell my story. May be it can encourage people in difficult situation

  113. Marcia Harms says:

    Good idea of how to help folks going through a trauma and rise above the prior level of functioning once healed. Love the ‘Post Traumatic Growth” phrase for measuring and improving on healing. Gail Sheehy had written the book Passages. It has been in my mind all these years. She had said, and cannot quote her exactly, but that we would pay for our crises if knew what they might do for us. I have found that a wise comment and look for that silver lining through life challenges.

  114. Cher says:

    As an interfaith minister and public speaker, I can craft my inspirational talks toward resiliency. I like this idea of re calibrating and the term post traumatic growth. Both concepts can be helpful when working with grief counseling as well as victims of trauma. It offers hope and is uplifting to be encouraged that with good mental hygiene and spiritual practices, life can normalize to a new level.

  115. EstherG says:

    I really like the term “post traumatic growth”. I’ve never heard it before, thank you so much. This new vocabulary takes the pathologization away and opens the door for healing vs staying in the disease model of things. I believe it is mind over matter and this is a very empowering set of words. Having an “action” term is so much more health promoting than a label. Thanks again!

  116. it makes so much sense that meaning and happiness go together. Thank you

  117. Mary Moore says:

    What did this circumstance/ condition help you understand about who you are and what you prefer?

  118. Karin Berman says:

    I loved hearing Sonja talk about this topic and associating related issues in a broader sense. I have been reflecting on the issue of happiness versus meaning – and read research that stated that finding or having meaning in one’s life does not necessarily mean one would be happy. For what it’s worth, here is a snippet:

    “…happiness is mainly about getting what one wants and needs…In contrast, meaningfulness was linked to doing things that express and reflect the self and in particular to doing positive things for others. Meaningful involvements increase one’s stress, worries, arguments, and anxiety, which reduce happiness…Whereas happiness was focused on feeling good in the present, meaningfulness integrated past, present, and future, and it sometimes meant feeling bad. Past misfortunes reduce present happiness, but they are linked to higher meaningfulness—perhaps because people cope with them by finding meaning.” Article written by Baumeister et al. (2013) in the Journal of Positive Psychology, 8(6).

    • Eliza Kieding says:

      this resonates with the trajectory of my life, though I see how one might be able to break through to a “higher'” happiness filled with meaning, just haven’t experienced it personally.

  119. Thank you for the video post Ruth.

  120. Inez Wong says:

    When you have lost control of your life and so scared that you could never get back to your normal self again and then you do get it back…for me it was not the same. I appreciated every aspect as never before! I never loved my life as much as I do now. I am almost thankful for the trauma that happened to me. It also made me spiritual.

  121. Barb says:

    I’m glad to know someone is doing research on this. I tell clients that there is a silver lining to working through trauma, and it is what is being pointed to here. This underscores what I know, personally and from many clients.

  122. Judy hanazawa says:

    Thanks for this. I think it’s an important observation that post traumatic growth does occur but the ability to actually survive beyond the traumatic experience is an important first step and having meaningful support is also important. Nelson Mandela is one who was able to truly evolve in his humanity in the face of trauma and adversity. Thanks.

  123. Amelie Frank says:

    I can speak only as a patient, but there is no question that if you can work through trauma and gain a better understanding of how much you still matter and how meaningful your life can be for yourself as well as others, you will develop, and in ways you could not have imagined. I never thought I could have an unshakable sense of who I am or how appropriate that understanding is for me, and I would not trade what I know and understand now to have back the pre-trauma happiness I new. It will never be the same, but it can be different in surprising and beautiful ways.

    • Amelie Frank says:

      That should be “knew,” not new. Sticky K key.

  124. Nike Brandt Poulsen says:

    May be by takibg clients out in Nature, to helt them feel the beauty about being here.
    Or try to helt them engage in meaningful activities.

    Or going to a spriritual level, by proposing that there must be a meaning with them still being here in this World, it must be because they have something important that has to be done?

    It is a bit challenging, as people tend to follow a specificere route, that sometimes has to be disturbed. If they tend to be depressiv, their route has ro be distracted.

  125. smfields says:

    Recognize the time needed to transition from the old way of life (pre trauma) to the new way of living. Empathize with the fears and confusion around the demands of change. Explore sources of comfort and be comfortable enough to explore and encourage client to explore meaning of life and mortality. Encourage client in his/her faith as a personal journey embarked on by all cultures and individuals seeking to understand trauma and fear……normalize without diminishing. We live, we die. Help clients to open their eyes to the positive; the rescuers came, the neighbors cared, the community stepped up, the flowers bloomed, and they have learned vulnerability that possibly at some time in the future will enable them to reach out to someone else. We keep reading about meditation and yoga and mindfulness; that is what prayer can be/is, listening in contemplation and silence or calm music. Walking to the sounds of nature; believing that there is something greater than oneself that can join with ones sorrow is powerful indeed and can put present time in greater perspective. Faith has become a bit of a dirty word in therapy conversations…clients can hesitate to raise it, fearful the therapist will be disdainful, so bring it up respectfully. With every client we can expand our own knowledge and experience and we are privileged to stand with people in deep pain. Tell them that. We also are always growing. So can they.

    • I like this reply and agree with it. I love the phrase post traumatic growth. Very helpful.

  126. Dahna Berkson says:

    I keep thinking of Victor Frankl,
    Man’s Search for Meaning. Our capability
    to find meaning in the most horrific
    circumstance. Thank you.

  127. Rita says:

    It seems to me that the biggest barrier to resilience in the face of trauma is how entrenched the person is in fear.
    Currently I’m wrestling with how to reach and get my sister-in-law to make even small changes. My oldest brother is in early/middle stages of alzheimers. Both he and his wife lived near and assisted when my father went through the disease 20 years ago. Despite seeing effects of disease first-hand, my brother’s wife seems entirely unable to adapt to her husband’s condition. She believes my brother can improve. Worse, she cannot understand why her life has to change and she resists on every level: she still works but never learned to drive. She knows my brother failed an official driving test, but on the sly, she gets my brother to drive so she/they can do errands on the weekend. They are not rich, but they do not have to worry about money either. My sister-in-law’s fears, however, extend to spending almost any money — not just for cab drivers, for workmen to repair their house, landscapers to replace my brother in lawn/snow care, etc. etc. This disconnect between instituting positive factors to assist — and not harm/help my brother — is best summed up by her turning off the hot water.

    She is entirely encircled by fears. My brother is much more open and positive. I do not know how to help her become less fearful. I think about it a lot. How to reach her with loving kindness and get her to make even the smallest shift towards reality, openness, and hopefulness. How does one successfully get someone to overcome ANY of their fears and change their dangerous behavior?

    Breaking a cycle of fear seems the secret to resilience. For some, however, a deep, intransient attachment to fear seems insurmountable.

    • Marcia Harms says:

      Fear is another avenue of exploration when it comes to recovery and how to work through. This whole topic is unfortunately been so paramount for many nowadays and warrants further investigation. All these comments are thought provoking and inspiring. Wish I could comment on them all and maybe I shall as time allows. If anyone has read the study on Adverse Childhood Experiences, it helps to start to define how hard the issue of fear can be far imbedded in our psyche. Early study of development in this field are paramount for understanding and development needs to be brought back into the study of psychology more profoundly, especially when it comes to families.

  128. Elaine Dolan says:

    My response to Sonja is so complex and multi-faceted that it would take expanding the topic in several directions to answer it adequately. But one aspect of growth is a shift both into one’s worth and into belonging here- here on earth. Interaction clicks into place. Where you are (including wherever you’ve been) makes sense.

    One’s growth factor must be totally different from another’s growth factor–perhaps in a ratio to the love and encouragement of supportive others, as well as one’s ability to see, hear, and feel that support.

  129. Alison Lynch says:

    I think that survivors of trauma are and do become very strong as a result of what they have gone through. What I think is lacking in the therapy process is reflecting not only the experience of the client with the wide range of emotions they face everyday but reflecting and drawing out the strengths, positive characteristics and humor of the client that the client downplays or doesn’t notice or appreciate about him/herself. As a trained therapist and also as a client, I feel there is much too much that is not celebrated, acknowledged, or even focused on that is happy, positive and a sign of growth in the client and too much left for the client to kind of figure out and then eventually leave therapy because she now realizes she is “enough.” I think the therapist, rather than being afraid of emotionally taking care of the client, needs to partner with the client to find agreed upon strengths that the client can internalize that will further the belief that she is okay. It’s okay for the therapist to do a little bit of cheerleading. If your therapist can not be for you, and the client feels too shitty to be for herself, then there’s not much hope-but when your therapist can be for you, before you realize that you’re worth being there for yourself, what a gift that can be to the client!

  130. JoAnn Baird says:

    I think there are a lot of contingencies. Whether a person experiences decline, return to status quo or growth depends upon the client’s temperament, the quality of support in the person’s environment pre- and post-trauma, developmental trauma prior to the event, and whether or not the client was fortunate enough to seek treatment and the quality of that treatment. Probably many other contingencies. So, what I get out of this piece is that there is hope after trauma and even happiness, under the right conditions. Am I getting this right?

  131. Rossen Russev says:

    It is a great!

  132. I recently was impressed by the back cover notes on Alex Brumbaugh’s, The Praxis of Recovery. Suggesting that “the threshold of success does not occur until after five or more years of sustained remission.” And it frames “recovery in terms of learnings.” To experience post-traumatic growth, it strikes me that these “learnings” are key. And how we go about creating the environments, the teachers and the competency to support this five+ years growth process essential.

  133. yvonne solorio says:

    I feel so hopeful and excited to receive this kind of information, not only for myself but as concrete evidence of where we are going as a species, i.e., into enlightened living.

  134. I have specialized in living with disability in the family for years, in my private clinical practice. Many of my clients either face the challenge of long term physical conditions, being a spouse in that situation, or as parents of children with disabilities. So often it involves a loss of identity (giving up a career, dreams for a future together, etc.) and the necessity for redefinition of self. We will explore, who was I before, what can I bring forward from the past, what must I let go of, and what are new possibilities? Eventually we end up discussing the “gift” embedded in the loss or challenge they face, but not before giving ample air time to their grief about what dream has been lost. It’s when people don’t have the “permission” to be seen and acknowledged for their losses, that they get stuck and can’t see their way clear to re-create meaning.

  135. E. Suzanne Carter LPS-S, NCC, LCDC, MAC says:

    I have seen my clients do both – refuse happiness or develop a happier life. I am always hopping for the happier life and I do affirm all indications that the client will become happier. I know the affirmation helps my clients in that moment, but I do not know if it is a component of helping the happier life to develop.

    • Marcia Harms says:

      For many year doing grief and loss groups it was always the clients who seemed to grieve more at the onset who were more able to move on as they often has reported such a good relationship with a partner. They sought to duplicate it sooner. It was the ones that my grief professor warned me about were the ones who seemed to not grieve as much but it never seemed to end. They were ones that had a poor relationship with the partner. They never seemed to move on until that relationship got resolved. the group members were always baffled by the fast transition of the former. I have found this helpful in dealing with clients who have loved ones they have strong conflict with, to resolve it before it becomes this situation.

  136. Ginger stage says:

    Though I’ve always been dubbed in incurable optimist, I know that the peace and security I get is knowing that there is the creator of the universe who is wiser and more loving than me. He has shown me again and again the truth of the Scriptures that say God can make all things work for good for those who love him. Though he allows things to happen that we often do not understand, he also will allow those things to help us grow, if we trust him. Those who have come from a really difficult family history have a harder time trusting that an authority figure could be all loving, but it certainly isn’t impossible. Much of what people seem not to understand is that there is evil in the world and that wanting to be our own God often makes things very hard for us. Even for clients who are not believers, these truths can still operate so presenting an alternative to letting trauma have us rather than us having had a trauma is a very helpful view. The helplessness and powerlessness that are so much a part of trauma get re-framed with the concept of conquering and making something good out of an experience that wanted to defeat us. Whether somebody gets that extra assist from God or not is their call. These are truths that have been written long before any of the recent researchers.

  137. Eileen Farrow says:

    A therapist is working with a client that has experienced a family suicide, loss of a son and breast cancer.
    After many years of pain, grief and sadness, this lady has learned to enjoy life in a new way. With many ways of learning about herself—she has learned acceptance, resilience and contentment.

    LOVE is her answer—-know how to love and cherish yourself, then learning to love others.
    True loving kindness can take you to a higher place than living a normal life.

  138. Ladonna Zimmerman says:

    Very validating of my personal experience with traumatic events and in my professional life as an LCSW. I’m the Trauma Informed Care Coordinator in a maximum/high/ minimum security Forensic Mental Health facility in Missouri, Fulton State Hospital. I definitely see individuals who grow and mature and find meaning in their lives. The other thing I believe we also know is the importance of connection and having at least one person that believes in you.

  139. Marta Luzim says:

    I work with clients who are challenged with complex trauma and PTSD. I myself have experienced both. Trauma is a dark night of the soul. A heroine’s/heros journey, resourcing deep faith, surrender to what you cannot control and re-directing energy into positive action, being able to tolerate pain and passion, finding your tribe and where you belong, and choosing creative inspired living. Personally and professionally I don’t know why one person recovers meaning and happiness and others do not. I believe it has to do with something spiritual, karmic and beyond our knowing. My sister committed suicide. I fought for my happiness, meaning and love. I am still standing. Still passionate. What I have witnessed throughout my life and career are those who can reach a recovery of love and passion are those who can internalize their resources of faith, radical self acceptance, loving-kindness, relearning trust and re-building and re-patterning the fragmented self into wholeness. They never give up. They want to receive love and give love. It takes a deep hunger desire and practice to reach new levels of happiness after trauma. I don’t know, in this research, what those individuals did to find happiness after trauma. What I do know it take alot of strength, vulnerability, ability to receive your worthiness and establish healthy attachments and find meaning. Your organization has helped me to understand trauma in so many meaningful and healing ways, I am grateful for you passion and dedication to healing trauma. Deeply humbled and thankful

  140. claire says:

    I think it’s great that this is scientifically validated now, because it must be part of our job as therapists to totally believe in the person’s ability not only to bounce back but also to go way beyond themselves, their expectations of themselves and even our own expectations of them. I have seen this happen so many times – and it’s exciting! It shows us that we really are living in a space of infinite possibilities and if we can bring that energy to our work then we are hopefully not limiting our clients by our own limited mindset about what is possible for them – we are actually holding a space which supports and encourgages them to go as far as they will.

  141. Fi says:

    Trauma enables a person to discover just what they are made of and how far their limits or boundaries of what is possible go, it can be empowering to get to know a part of ourselves hidden until trauma happens to let us see what we are made of!

  142. Laura Kearney says:

    I did my advanced project in undergrad about Posttraumatic Growth (PTG), and I am so happy to see you talking about this! I think it is a fascinating and hopeful topic, and it is something I have experienced myself. 5 years ago I was immersed in research by the PTG Group at University of North Carolina (Tedeschi & Calhoun), and Dr. Stephen Joseph’s book “What Doesn’t Kill Us.” I am so pleased to see that body of work continuing and growing.

    I think the specific areas of growth involved in PTG are important to know, in order to recognize and support them in our clients (and in ourselves). Research has shown the 5 top areas of growth in PTG are:
    – Increased Sense of Personal Strengths
    – Greater Appreciation of Life
    – Seeing New Possibilities
    – Increased Intimacy in Relationships
    – Spiritual Development.

    • Linh says:

      Thank you for sharing, Laura. I greatly appreciate it.

    • Minky Motlhale says:

      This sounds interesting, any possibility of sending a link or more information on the subject? I find that I’ve grown so much from surviving domestic violence in my marriage and nursing my son back to life from his long stay in ICU. I’I’ve also witnessed how most of my clients grow after sessions of TRE with them. Now I know how this is possible.

  143. Bob Dale says:

    After experiencing my daughter’s protected illness and subsequent death, I can say with unfortunate authority that parents of children with disabilities do experience life with greater complexity. That can often be overwhelming since complexity can be positive or negatively perceived. As a therapist, my task is to normalize that complexity in the context of redefining existence and meaning. Those who get stuck in the negative end of the pool are the challenge.

  144. Prithwiraj Sinha says:

    I think happiness depends on fulfilment of the physical and psychological needs of a person.
    This is explained well in Human Givens psychology.

    • Can you please send me the link please, I am studying Hypnotherapy/Psychotherapy/Neuro Linguistic Programming and Counselling at the Diploma level and onto Masters after , as a previous employee of Correctional Services, I wish to learn and develop as much knowledge to help Police Officers/Correctional Officers and anyone with more sound knowledge of this field. Also this link “Human givens Psychology” could you provide link please. South Australia.


    I love the quote which has made so much sense and growth in my own life…

    “There are places in the heart that do not yet exist,
    pain must be for them to be.”

  146. Michael Lederman says:

    My parents were in the Holocaust & I am totally amazed by their tremendous resilience! I have come to learn that no one can take my spirit away!

  147. David McGough says:

    I live with C-PTSD – Although i have a huge vulnerability on the other side Superhuman strengths – Trauma can be very educative because even though the events are truly staggering the person by living such a tough battle becomes a very impressive entity – re-defines their own life and uses Trauma to get not only your life story told but to emerge out the other side (this isn’t easy) superior than before

  148. Genevieve says:

    In order to come through and thrive, after severe trauma, it is not unreasonable to suggest that a viable and supportive network is required. I can well imagine, from lived experience, that those with a positive and viable support network do better than those who live in relative or complete isolation.

  149. Our center uses the Feuerstein program, created to help holocaust survivors move out of a limbic system hijacked state by developing frontal lobe cogitive growth. We are getting some good results. Some people, of course, need more time and intensity.

    • Nicole Ditz says:

      Could you provide a link to information on this feuerstein program and its methodology?

      Thank you!

  150. I always say to my patients, family, friends and myself: there’s nothing good about trauma, tragedy and crisis, and yet, it’s happened/happening, so you may as well grow. Looking for small and big miracles helps. I’ve used the idea of PT growth in my work and in my book as the thing that can make all the difference. I find that perspective, thoughts about events and loving kindness from self and others, will make all the difference.
    It did for me.

  151. Elsa says:

    Hi Ruth, The person who came to mind, listening to the research on people growing after and/or through a traumatic event, was you. I remember hearing of your huge loss – the loss of your partner. And I wondered: are you more daring, more complex, now. For example, has NICABM is some way come about in part in response to the loss – that you have taken on this enormous challenge, to share what you know with ever so many more people. All the best to you – to all of us.

    • Thanks for thinking of me, Elsa. And yes, it was a huge loss that I grow from continually.

  152. Bridget Herod says:

    I will take these examples and applying them. I value you information.
    I teach students who experience trauma and I will modify and adapt.

  153. kathy says:

    What causes differences between each group?

    Again what determines the outcome of advestiry? Did they check what kind of thinking styles the people had before the adversity?

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