Monday, March 24, 2014

Posttraumatic Growth

From yee Wiki:

Post-traumatic growth or benefit finding refers to positive psychological change experienced as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life circumstances. These sets of circumstances represent significant challenges to the adaptive resources of the individual, and pose significant challenges to individuals' way of understanding the world and their place in it. Posttraumatic growth is not simply a return to baseline from a period of suffering; instead it is an experience of improvement that for some persons is deeply meaningful.

This concept is part of the positive psychology approach. It is commonly reported by cancer survivors.

The general understanding that suffering and distress can potentially yield positive change is thousands of years old. For example, some of the early ideas and writing of the ancient Hebrews, Greeks, and early Christians, as well as some of the teachings of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and the Baha'i Faith contain elements of the potentially transformative power of suffering

Attempts to understand and discover the meaning of human suffering represent a central theme of much philosophical inquiry and appear in the works of novelists, dramatists and poets. Scholarly interest in post-traumatic growth began to gain considerable strength in the 1990s, based on the idea that greater interest should be placed on studying people who are actually healthy, and the better and brighter aspects of human behavior. 

Today, there is overwhelming evidence that individuals facing a wide variety of very difficult circumstances experience significant changes in their lives many of which they view as highly positive. 

Posttraumatic growth has been documented in relation to various natural and human-made traumatic events, including life-threatening disease, war, abuse, immigration and death of loved ones. It has also been documented in many countries and in the context of different cultures with evidence that PTG is a universal phenomenon but also manifests some cultural variations. Growth from trauma has been conceptualized not only for individuals but also for families as systems.


Posttraumatic growth occurs with the attempts to adapt to highly negative sets of circumstances that can engender high levels of psychological distress such as major life crises, which typically engender unpleasant psychological reactions. Growth does not occur as a direct result of trauma, rather it is the individual's struggle with the new reality in the aftermath of trauma that is crucial in determining the extent to which posttraumatic growth occurs. Encouragingly, reports of growth experiences in the aftermath of traumatic events far outnumber reports of psychiatric disorders, since continuing personal distress and growth often coexist.

As far as predictors of Post-Traumatic Growth, a number of factors have been associated with adaptive growth following exposure to a trauma. Spirituality has been shown to highly correlate with post-traumatic growth and in fact, many of the most deeply spiritual beliefs are a result of trauma exposure (O'Rourke 2008). 

Social support has been well documented as a buffer to mental illness and stress response. In regards to Post-Traumatic Growth, not only is high levels of pre-exposure social support associated with growth, but there is some neurobiological evidence to support the idea that support will modulate a pathological response to stress in the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenocortical (HPA) Pathway in the brain (Ozbay 2007). 

It is also alleged, though currently under further investigation, that opportunity for emotional disclosure can lead to post-traumatic growth though did not significantly reduce post-traumatic stress symptomology (Slavin-Spenny 2010).

Gender roles did not reliably predict post-traumatic growth though are indicative of the type of trauma that an individual experiences. Women tend to experience victimization on a more individual and interpersonal level (e.g. sexual victimization) while men tend to experience more systemic and collective traumas (e.g. military and combat).

Given that group dynamics appear to play a predictive role in post-traumatic growth, it can be argued that the type of exposure may indirectly predict growth in men (Lilly 2012).


Results seen in people that have experienced posttraumatic growth include some of the following: greater appreciation of life, changed sense of priorities, warmer, more intimate relationships, greater sense of personal strength, and recognition of new possibilities or paths for one's life and spiritual development.

Two personality characteristics that may affect the likelihood that people can make positive use of the aftermath of traumatic events that befall them include extraversion and openness to experience. Also, optimists may be better able to focus attention and resources on the most important matters, and disengage from uncontrollable or unsolvable problems. The ability to grieve and gradually accept trauma could also increase the likelihood of growth

It also benefits a person to have supportive others that can aid in post-traumatic growth by providing a way to craft narratives about the changes that have occurred, and by offering perspectives that can be integrated into schema change.

These relationships help develop narratives; these narratives of trauma and survival are always important in post-traumatic growth because the development of these narratives forces survivors to confront questions of meaning and how answers to those questions can be reconstructed.

Individual differences in coping strategies set some people on a maladaptive spiral, whereas others proceed on an adaptive spiral. With this in mind, some early success in coping could be a precursor to posttraumatic growth. A person's level of confidence could also play a role in her or his ability to persist into growth or, out of lack of confidence, give up.

A recent article by Iversen, Christiansen & Elklit (2011) suggests that predictors of growth have different effects on PTG on micro-, meso-, and macro level, and a positive predictor of growth on one level can be a negative predictor of growth on another level. This might explain some of the inconsistent research results within the area.

Another characteristic of posttraumatic growth is it can coexist with negative psychological adjustment after traumatic events, so it is important that measures of grief used in both clinical and research domains allow for an assessment of positive response.

Related concepts

In contrast to resilience, hardiness, optimism, and a sense of coherence, post-traumatic growth refers to a change in people that goes beyond an ability to resist and not be damaged by highly stressful circumstances; it involves a movement beyond pre-trauma levels of adaptation.

It could be possible that people who are highest on these dimensions of coping ability will report relatively little growth. That is because these people have coping strategies that will allow them to be less challenged by trauma, and the struggle with trauma may be crucial for post-traumatic growth.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. Blog: Five Things Preventing You From AttractingYour Beloved

By Margaret Paul, Ph.D. 
Most of us would love to be in a loving, committed relationship. Yet, for many, this seems to be elusive. There are some good reasons for this.

1. We Attract at Our Common Level of Self-Abandonment or Self-Love
Do you abandon yourself in one or more of these four ways?

Staying focused in your head rather than being present with your feelings in your body

Judging yourself harshly, putting a lot of pressure on yourself

Turning to various addictions to avoid your feelings and to fill up inner emptiness

Making others responsible for your happiness and self-worth

People who love and value themselves, and take responsibility for their own happiness and self-worth, are not attracted to people who abandon themselves. Two people who abandon themselves often get together, hoping the other person will give them the love they are not giving to themselves, only to be disappointed and move on. We do not have love to share with another when we are not loving ourselves.

2. Fear of Rejection -- Loss of Other

When you abandon yourself -- which means that you are rejecting yourself -- then you naturally fear being rejected by others. The fear of rejection leads to feeling anxious in relationships, which leads to trying to have control over not being rejected. Whatever you do to try to control not being rejected -- being overly nice, having sex too soon, giving yourself up and being compliant, tolerating unloving behavior on the part of the other person -- is inauthentic and often leads to the rejection you are trying to avoid.

3. Fear of Engulfment -- Loss of Self

If you came from controlling parents and learned to give yourself up to avoid a loss of love, then you might have a big fear of being consumed and smothered in a relationship. You might believe that you need to give yourself up to be loved -- to avoid rejection -- and this fear might lead you to pull back from a relationship the moment it starts to get close. 

If you find yourself coming on strong at the beginning of a relationship and then losing interest as soon as the other person is interested, then you likely have a fear of engulfment and are relationship-avoidant.

4. Level of Happiness and Self-Worth

If you are an unhappy person with low self-worth, do you expect that a happy person with high self-worth is going to be attracted to you? This is very unlikely. The problem is also that you might not be attracted to another unhappy person. You might hope to find a happy person who will make you happy, but it doesn't generally work this way.

If you want to attract a happy person and create a loving relationship, then you need to first do your inner work to become a happy, loving person.

5. Attachment to the Outcome

When you meet someone and you become attached to the outcome, in terms of making your happiness and worth dependent on the other person liking you, you may put out an energy that actually pushes the other person away. Most of us don't want to be responsible for another's happiness, worth and well-being. It doesn't feel like love when someone is focused on getting love rather than on being loving.

Getting Love, Being Loving

This is the essence of the issue of attracting your beloved. Is your primary intent in being in a relationship to get love, or is it to share your love with your beloved? If it's to get love -- due to your own self-abandonment -- then your challenge in attracting your beloved is to learn to love yourself and share your love.

If you want to be in a loving, committed relationship and you have not been able to manifest this in your life, or if your current relationship isn't working, then you first need to learn to create a loving relationship with yourself. 

Once you know how to fill yourself up with love to share with a partner, you will find that you have a much easier time attracting your beloved and creating a loving relationship.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Fourteen Things Positive People Don’t Do


By Daniel Wallen 

Positive people don’t have a magical power that you don’t possess. Instead of letting stress control them, positive people take control of their life by managing stress and striving to improve every day.

Check out these things that positive people don’t do, so you too can be happy and successful.

 1. They Don’t Assume the Worst.

It’s amazing how many problems wouldn’t exist if we didn’t invent them. Positive people know that leaping to conclusions is usually a bad idea. Instead of freaking out about an unanswered text (“What if they don’t like me?”), they go on with their day (“Hmm, they must be busy.”). Before they decide another person is untrustworthy, they make an honest effort to find out more about them.

2. They Don’t Resist the Truth.

It’s easy to live in a lie because lies can grow so strong that it can eventually make people forget about the truth. Positive people know that they need to face the truth and live with it because making excuses will never get a solution for what have gone wrong.

3. They Don’t Hold On To Resentment.

Positive people understand that resentment only causes pain in life over and over again, so they let go of it. They choose to accept and forgive things happened in the past to move on with what they have learned from the incidents.

4. They Don’t Forget the Little Things.

Is it easy to forget the little things? Certainly. But positive people don’t make a habit of it. Instead, they express gratitude for every blessing, no matter how big or small. They know it’s silly to think more stuff will make them feel better if they can’t be happy about what they have.

5. They Don’t Pass the Buck.

Positive people realize they are the CEO of their life and thus take full responsibility for how things are. They didn’t get “stuck in traffic” — they were late. They didn’t “have something come up” — they forgot. Positive people don’t claim “they can’t help it,” because they can do anything they set their mind to.

6. They Don’t See Problems as “Problems.”

The word “problems” is seen as “challenges” for positive people. They believe that every obstacle comes as an opportunity that is yet to be discovered. Positive people take the chance to challenge themselves and improve their life.

7. They Don’t Resign Themselves to “Reality.”

This “reality” most people speak of sounds like a dreadful place where dreams go to die. Positive people know that anything is possible with consistency and hustle, so they choose to write their own reality.

8. They Don’t Expect Something for Nothing.

Positive people don’t fall for “lose weight fast” or “get rich quick” scams. They know that anything worth having requires hard work (often, lots of it). Positive people are comfortable with the fact that achieving success might take a bit longer than they would like (but will be so worth it).

9. They Don’t Get Bored.

Boredom is a place where creativity, inspiration, and productivity die. Positive people are fascinated by everything around them. They explore the world with enthusiasm and curiosity, asking as many questions as they can. On a similar note, fun fact: did you know you have atoms in your body that were created in a star 13 billion years ago? True story (so you don’t get to be bored).

10. They Don’t Let Negative Thoughts Hijack Their Brain.

Positive people don’t subject themselves to a chorus of self-defeating negative thoughts. When a negative thought passes through their head, they remind themselves: if I wouldn’t say it about another person, I shouldn’t think it about myself.

11. They Don’t Make Comparison With Others.

Positive people understand that everyone is different and has his own progress, so they don’t compare themselves to other people. They are confident about what they have and what they do. Instead of focusing on how others are doing, they pay attention on how to improve their own life.

12. They Don’t Agonize Over Every Little Mistake.

Positive people don’t look at failure as a terrible thing to avoid at all costs. They know that failure is a possibility when it comes to trying anything new. Seeing failure for what it is (a learning opportunity and nothing more) helps positive people achieve massive success as they learn and grow.

13. They Don’t Think Life Is Perfect.

Positive people forget about perfection, because it’s just not possible. When is the last time you thought, “Wow, this is the perfect day to get in shape,” or “You know what? This is the day I quit my job, move to Santa Fe, and pursue my real passion?” Oh, that’s right: you didn’t, because there isn’t a “perfect time” to do anything. Positive people take action in the here and now, perfection be damned.

14. They Don’t Hang Out with Toxic People.

Positive people don’t let negative, toxic people drag them down. Instead, they surround themselves with other positive people who are fun and inspiring to be with. Why should a positive person spend their time with a person who complains about everything and gossips about everybody? Positive people know there is no good answer to that question.