As “trauma healing” has come into the foreground of many mental health initiatives with such books as “The Body Keeps the Score” and Gabor Mate’s “The Myth of Normal” rising in popularity, there is another, less known concept that describes how we not only survive traumatic events but can actually thrive because of them. The concept of Post Traumatic Growth, or PTG, says that past traumas are not set in stone, insofar as how they will continue to impact us in the future. Rather, through self-reflection, emotional awareness, and cognitive reappraisal or “reframing,” those who have suffered from a traumatic experience may be able to develop into stronger and more resilient people due to their trauma.
According to the Posttraumatic Growth Research Group at the University of North Carolina, post-traumatic growth (PTG) can be comprehended as positive change stemming from the struggle in dealing with a traumatic event or major life crisis. In this article we will explore some practical tools which can potentially aid in healing from trauma, increasing resiliency and overall well-being and gain a newfound appreciation of life. The following handout worksheets are commonly used in clinical settings for those suffering from PTSD, anxiety, and post-trauma syndrome.
It is so important to practice being kind and forgiving to yourself and begin to increase your personal strength. This activity is a self-scored worksheet made up of 26 statements that reveal both feelings and actions. All responses are scored on a 5-point scale(1=rarely to 5=always); the sum of the scores signifies the level of compassion we are giving ourselves. Below is the complete list of questions to give you a picture of the worksheet. If you are looking to know your exact score you can click the link here to complete the worksheet online which is self-scoring!
Post-traumatic growth starts with accepting your current situation and going forward without attempting to revise it. While it might appear to be a challenge, acceptance is the primary launching point for personal growth and better mental health.
Using the radical acceptance or distress tolerance activity worksheet, you are able to pinpoint areas of complete self-acceptance and dedicate time to valuing yourself after experiencing any struggles or disappointments that life throws our way. The worksheet is made up of open-ended questions, and the responses to each indicate where we lie in terms of self-acceptance. Below is the complete list of questions for you to get started! The goal of this worksheet is to identify, consider, and understand situations or emotions you are struggling to accept and gain a better understanding of your mental health as you begin your journey of post-traumatic growth.
What happened prior to the situation that arose? How did it occur? How did it unfold? Who was there? What emotions did you experience during this situation?
How did you react, act, or behave to what occurred? What effects did your reactions have on you emotionally? Remember that a response is considered, deliberate behavior. A reaction, in contrast, is when you allow emotions to guide your behavior.
Describe how they acted or behaved when you reacted the way you did.
How could you respond, instead of reacting, to reduce your own emotional distress?
No matter who you are, the aftermath of trauma can redefine how you live your life. The set of beliefs, worldviews, and assumptions that ground us can become broken and uncontrollable after being confronted with trauma. This earthquake-like event which can shatter our perceptions allows us the opportunity to reconstruct ourselves and our mindset. When the foundation of self is shaken, new growth can flourish.
Of course, if you are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, poor mental health, intense flashbacks, or negative coping strategies it is important to speak with a clinician who can provide you with additional handout worksheets, a workbook, or treatments such as psychotherapy. Post-traumatic growth may seem like a daunting task but clinical psychology, positive coping skills, and personal strength offers new possibilities towards positive change.
In addition to this, re-origin offers a comprehensive and science-based brain retraining program aimed at helping people overcome traumatic illnesses and events through self-directed neuroplasticity or “brain rewiring” therapy. Unlike self-help, brain retraining is one approach to trauma recovery that is actually aimed at undoing its underlying cause which is the continued firing of obsolete neuropathways that formed during a time of great stress. The Trauma worksheet above can help you get started by gaining a better understanding of where you presently are in your journey. And when you are ready to recondition the old pathways, regain full self-esteem, reduce symptoms of PTSD, and return to who you really are – re-origin is here for you.