The theory behind post-traumatic growth is not an entirely new concept. Instead, it simply builds upon the theory and knowledge that is already available. Post-traumatic growth is part of multiple disciplines – such as mental health, religion and philosophy. Due to this, the theory behind it takes certain aspects of these disciplines to create a new school of thought.
The concept of growing through adversity is not a new one. ‘That which does not kill us makes us stronger’ is a well-known saying attributed to the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. The phoenix rising from the ashes is a long-established symbol of rebirth that is highly relevant to PTG. At the end of the phoenix’s long life its nest catches fire and burns ferociously, reducing the bird to ashes. But out of those ashes a young phoenix emerges – renewed and stronger than before: the perfect symbol of regeneration after a life-altering event.
Many ancient forms of spirituality, including Christianity, Buddhism and Judaism, speak of the transformative power of suffering. What is new is that there is now a science of PTG. Studies by the Posttraumatic Growth Research Group at the University of North Carolina, the Post-Traumatic Growth Unit at the University of East London and the Centre for Trauma, Resilience and Growth at the University of Nottingham have all confirmed that people can and do experience benefits from adversity.
With mental health disorders on the rise in our fast-moving, increasingly pressured world, there is a grave need for greater choice in treatment methods. As help is often hard to access through health services or expensive to fund yourself, the knowledge in this book gives you self-help tools to cope positively in stressful circumstances, stand firm while the storm rages around you and make the longed-for journey toward a renewed and flourishing life.
– From #WhatIs Post-Traumatic Growth by Miriam Akhtar
Do you know any theories about post-traumatic growth?
You can find more detail about post-traumatic growth and Miriam’s interest in it inside her book.
To learn more than just the theory behind the concept, we have a series of blog posts here. This is the start of a series of blog posts about post-traumatic growth so you should find plenty of information.