WEEK 6 - The Storyteller
Tell a New Meaningful Story
Positive Health Principle #36
Make the Past Path Beautiful
In today's class you will learn:
1. What is posttraumatic growth syndrome
2. How PTSD differs from posttraumatic growth syndrome
3. What research says about trauma recovery and growth
When you finish today's class, click the golden button below and take another extra small action!
REFLECT: What is your relationship with your past experiences?
“Your past is just a story. And once you realise this,
it has no power over you.”
Make It Beautiful!
TODAY'S DOSE OF POSITIVE HEALTH
“Just like there's always time for pain, there's always time for healing.” Jennifer Brown
The traditional view of trauma was divided between having PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Syndrome Disease), or you were fine. Researchers today have a more complex perspective. It is normal to have problems following trauma.
You should lose weight, have problems with sleep, have terrible images replay in your head, be racked by guilt or fear. Some people suffer these typical post-trauma reactions to one degree or another and recover, returning to a relatively normal state within weeks or months of the event. Others appear unchanged at first, only to react months or even years later.
The majority of these people also recover. Bonanno, the critic of the US Army’s program, says his recent study found that most soldiers are already remarkably resilient — 85% of them having no lasting adverse reaction from combat. A small percentage of people, however, get trapped in their trauma and experience P.T.S.D. Paradoxically, many grow even as they suffer. The way we cope with trauma is far more complex than we once thought, and the way it molds us is similarly complex. We bend, we break, we repair and rebuild, and often we grow, changing for the better in ways we never would have if we had not suffered.
Researchers have found evidence of post-traumatic growth in cultures across the globe. Professor Tzipi Weiss at Long Island University found studies that reported post-traumatic growth in Israelis who survived terrorist attacks and in Palestinians who were held in Israeli prisons; in Turkish earthquake survivors and Germans who survived the Dresden bombing. In her own research, Weiss found growth in the spouses of cancer survivors. She concluded that post-traumatic growth is a universal phenomenon.
But growth is not a given. Not everyone climbs out of despair changed for the better. An overreliance on drugs to treat PTSD., some clinicians argue, might even stifle growth. Researchers at the Oklahoma City Veterans Administration Medical Center, spent many years working in the PTSD suggest that a continuing distress from PTSD is necessary for growth to occur and patients should be encouraged to work through the pain, to see it as motivation.
When it comes to treatment, however, there isn’t a consensus on how, or whether, to integrate the concept of growth. Scientists at the National Center for PTSD, indicate that pushing people towards growth can be ineffective, making patients believe that they need to be strong even when they are in mental agony.
Many of psychologists are familiar with the idea of post-traumatic growth yet not all of them have used it in therapy. Social workers at Fort Sill, however, have introduced the idea of growth right away, though as a long-term objective. When soldiers come in shattered by a traumatic experience, social workers explain that they will lose sleep, be angry, upset and depressed and that these are normal reactions. But they also tell them that there is a chance that, given time, they may be stronger as a result of what they went through.
Some academics question whether post-traumatic growth is a real phenomenon or at least one that can be objectively defined. Nearly all studies ask people to look back and recount how an event changed them. In the wake of trauma, people might tell themselves that they changed for the better, if only as a way of making some sense of a senseless tragedy. As far as friends and spouses are concerned, however, the person might have not changed at all.
The phenomenon of posttraumatic growth is real, and it can be measured, even if researchers must rely on self-reported, after-the-fact accounts. For most people, change does not occur in a transcendent moment but over years of prosaic searching. Rebuilding life may be a struggle, but over time, the dark past is being replaced with a new way of being. Instead of labeling people as having a PTSD we should see them as those who are looking forward.
Posttraumatic Growth Syndrome
Post Traumatic Growth
TODAY'S INSPIRED ACTION
What are your grateful for now?
YOUR WEEKLY SESSION
Get ready for your weekly session.
In your fifth session you will focus on reframing your past experiences, focus on finding meaning and set the following intentions:
1. Identify and change your old story; replace it with a new meaningful one
2. Forgive yourself and others
3. Transform a post-traumatic stress syndrome into a post-traumatic growth syndrome
Answer the Meaning Questionnaire (download No1), spend a few moments reflecting on the PT Growth Worksheet (download No2), and go through the exercises (download No3) before your next session. Evaluate your session in the Self-Evaluation Worksheet (download No4).
1. Please make sure that you choose a convenient time and a quiet place for your Skype conversations.
2. Let the members of your household know when you need time for yourself, so you are not being interrupted.
3. Check your wifi connection and show up on time.
4. If you are unable to attend, you can still reschedule within the next few days before the Monday of the following week, if your guide has a free time slot.
5. Your one-to-one sessions are an integral part of the Grace School curriculum. It is, therefore, fundamental that each session is in synchrony with the weekly Grace School module.
YOUR WEEKLY DOWNLOADS
All files attached below have been created to support and enhance your learning experience.
These are available for download for the next 7 days. Please make sure that you answer the Meaning Questionnaire (No1), reflect on the PT Growth Worksheet (No2), and do the exercises (No3) before your next session.
Use the Self-Evaluation Worksheet (No4) after your session. At the end of the week reflect on your experiences and challenges. Summarise your week with the Self-Reflection Worksheet (No5).
Your WEEK 5 Downloads:
1. Meaning Questionnaire - answer 10 simple questions related to a deeper meaning of life (approx. time 5 minutes)
2. PT Growth Worksheet - grow from your previous experiences (approx. time 10 minutes)
3. Exercise Worksheet - do the exercises before your next session (approx time 10 minutes)
4. Self-Evaluation Worksheet - evaluate your session and learn from your experience (approx time 10-15 minutes)
5. Self-Reflection Worksheet - at the end of the week reflect on your experiences and challenges (approx time 10-20 minutes)
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