You’ll love this. My colleague, Bob Clark, has written an inspiring article, June 26, 2014 in The Tampa Bay Times, with a dolphin as the star. This “traumatized” orphan animal showed evidence of PTG…that’s right, post traumatic GROWTH–the positive outcome of traumatic events. Here at home, the Indiana Veterans Behavioral Health Network says about 20 percent of the state’s veterans have diagnosable symptoms of PTSD. But how many are showing PTG? Now there’s another research question worth pursuing. I know you’ll enjoy this excerpt from Bob’s article. Click at the bottom to read the complete piece. You’ll be glad you did!
Shakespeare may have said it best in As You Like It:
“Sweet are the uses of adversity, Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.”
Science is now helping to explain the Bard’s positive spin on adversity by researching what the New York Times recently called posttraumatic stress disorder’s “surprisingly positive flip side”: posttraumatic growth, or PTG. According to Richard Tedeschi, a psychologist at the University of North Carolina who studies PTG, people are routinely reporting positive changes from trauma in five areas: • A renewed appreciation for life • New possibilities for themselves • More personal strength• Improved relationships • More spiritual satisfaction.
Tedeschi’s research and other similar studies should sound a positive note and offer some hope for people with PTSD. So why don’t we hear more about this?
In a recent interview with Harvard Business Review, Martin Seligman, director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, said that part of the problem is that most of us are conditioned by news reports about PTSD to believe that stress-related illness is the normal reaction to trauma. Research shows that resilience, growth and healing are just as common or more so.
One of the best examples of PTG on the world stage is Winter the dolphin, a local hero and movie star.
Winter was the inspiration for Dolphin Tale. A sequel, Dolphin Tale 2, is due out in September.
I had the privilege of being part of a small group of volunteers who helped give Winter 24/7 care when she first arrived at Clearwater Marine Aquarium in 2005 as a 3-month-old orphan. Talk about trauma.