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We hear a great deal about the toll Post Traumatic Stress takes on human well being and very little about how traumatizing experiences can lead to positive shifts in perspective and habit. Perhaps because of the innate human qualities of hope and resilience, a whole field of science is investigating if it is possible to develop positive life skills in the wake of serious trauma. More than a decade of research is affirming that even after the most horrific events people do indeed develop strengths because of the trauma they have endured. Because Tapping supports our desire to grow beyond negative-event constrictions and because EFT builds resilience after such events by emphasizing strengths, it is not surprising that this remarkable tool can help to support Post Traumatic Growth (PTG).
What is Post Traumatic Growth (PTG)?
The University of North Carolina’s Post Traumatic Growth Research Group defines PTG as “a positive change experienced as a result of the struggle with a major life crisis or a traumatic event.” (See https://ptgi.uncc.edu/what-is-ptg/ for more information on PTG.) While researchers in no way belittle the devastating effects of trauma, they have been able to document positive growth in five main areas: agency (a desire to effect positive change while it is still possible to do so); connection (a desire to develop authentic relationships); self esteem (a higher assessment of personal qualities and skills); gratitude (a deeper appreciation for life in general); and, spirituality (a deepening sense of connection to life’s meaning beyond the material world.)
In spite of comprehensive research documenting PTG, researchers are careful to add that PTG is not universal; indeed, some people remain debilitated by trauma, a few for the rest of their lives. Nor does PTG diminish or trivialize the suffering of the traumatized; the horrific aspects of trauma and its consequences remain validated by this research. What the evidence does illustrate is the capacity of many traumatized people to evolve beyond the shock of life altering events to discover themselves as more engaged and caring than before traumatic experiences disrupted their lives.
How Tapping/EFT Supports PTG
Because Tapping safely allows people to revisit a traumatizing event without triggering flashbacks and panic attacks, the anxiety caused by an event can be released to create space for the development of a fresh perspective. For example, a client who experienced horrific parental neglect as an infant discovers that the “coping strategies” she developed to survive her birth family have refined her intuitive faculties and strengthened her resourcefulness in working with the more challenging people she meets in her work place. Instead of blaming her parents for their inadequate and even dangerous parenting and thus embracing victimhood, she now focuses on the strengths she developed because her childhood was so difficult.
Would she trade her challenging childhood for a better one if she could? Absolutely. What Tapping has helped her to recognize is how she was able to use the negative experiences in her childhood to develop highly prized adult work place and social skills.
How Do We Cultivate PTG?
Because revisiting traumatic events can trigger flashbacks and anxiety attacks, it is very important to engage a trauma specialist to partner with when setting Post Traumatic Growth goals. Most therapists and coaches offer free consultation calls to help individuals make wise decisions regarding possible routes to achieving therapy or coaching goals. During the consultation process, potential clients are empowered to ask if Post Traumatic Growth has been an experience of other clients. If the answer is no, you may want to continue your search for a coaching partner. If the answer is yes, then prepare to discover some very exciting truths about how your innate and learned abilities have, despite trauma, helped you to create a more resilient, empowered, and satisfying life.
We all experience trauma, some to a far greater degree than others. Whether our traumatizing experiences have been more or less severe we can still be hopeful that Tapping will help us to develop and deeply appreciate our post-traumatic strengths. Sometimes, simply the idea of healing is enough to prompt us to reach out. Post Traumatic Growth is more than idea. Research proves many of us are strengthened by the adversity we endure. May you find the support you need to discover your PTG strengths and go on to live an inspiring and meaning-filled life, no matter the trauma you have experienced.
Until next week
Jane Buchan, MA, AAMET Advanced Practitioner, firstname.lastname@example.org, 802-533-9277
Jane is a Learning Coach specializing in neutralizing cultural age, gender, and race constructs to support learners of every age. To engage her coaching services, please contact Jane by phone (802) 533-9277 or email, email@example.com. Be sure to put Coaching Query in the subject line.