Primer on Posttraumatic Growth

Primer on Posttraumatic Growth. . . A book full of wisdom and compassion.”
Stephen Joseph, PhD

Author,What Doesn’t Kill Us:The New Psychology of Posttraumatic Growth

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Current psychological research shows that, for many, the process of enduring and learning from distress can take one to a rewarding place in life never encountered before. A unique look at positive psychology and trauma, this book provides mental health professionals with a set of practical guidelines to foster posttraumatic growth in their clients and to recognize the elements of posttraumatic growth so they can be prepared to help clients take root and grow. For clinical psychologists, counselors, social workers, and pastoral counselors.

Reflections from Dr. Wicks on Primer of Posttraumatic Growth (Wiley)

For me, the topic of posttraumatic growth is essential for therapists today. Danger and opportunity stand side-by-side in the treatment of persons who have experienced trauma or undergone extreme stress. With an awareness of the key elements of posttraumatic growth (PTG), sensitivity to moments in the session and therapy where clients are demonstrating a readiness and openness to new insights into life’s gifts and beauty becomes possible. In such circumstances, progress is not simply confined to a return to the pre-morbid level of functioning. Instead, paradoxically, the very experience of the trauma sets the stage for growth that would not have been possible had the trauma not occurred.

However, without a sound introduction to the parameters of PTG, potential danger rather than opportunity for the client looms as a possibility. On the one hand, a cursory awareness of PTG may lead to outpacing a client’s abilities or in inadvertently producing guilt and discouragement through unspoken expectations for growth that are truly not feasible. On the other hand, without a full awareness of PTG, true opportunities that present themselves may be overlooked or inappropriately labeled by the therapist as denial or Pollyannaish thinking on the part of the client.