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Post traumatic growth refers to a “positive psychological change in the wake of struggling with highly challenging life circumstances” (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2004). Perhaps it’s too early to even bring up this topic, however the adaptations which we had to make due to the pandemic may have left an enduring impact on us as individuals.

The pandemic may have impacted us on a multitude of different dimensions mainly with our; relationships with the world around us (physical), interactions with others (social), interactions with ourselves (personal) and our belief system (spiritual). When faced with a situation in which individuals feel like they have little control, individuals need to make sense of that experience in a way which is meaningful to them. All our relationships with the different dimensions mentioned above could have been interrupted due to the pandemic. It is our ability for staying with the experience of emotional pain and reflection on our relationships with the different dimensions which elicit post traumatic growth.

Tedeschi and Calhoun (2004) focused on 5 main themes in exploring an individual’s level of post-traumatic growth: Relationship with others, New Opportunities, Strengths, Spiritual Change, and Appreciation. To better understand whether the pandemic has left a positive impact in your life reflect on the following questions:

  • Relationships with others
  1. Have your relationships with others been impacted due to the pandemic?
  2. Was it a positive or negative impact?
  3. What have you learnt from such an impact about others?
  4. Are you willing to maintain these strategies that were learnt when relating to others?
  5. What did you have to give up in order to improve your relationship strategies?
  • New Opportunities
  1. How did you react to the changes which emerged during the pandemic?
  2. What coping strategies did you try to incorporate to manage the changes?
  3. What hindered these changes from occurring?
  4. What did you have to give up in order to explore new opportunities?
  5. Will you be keeping any of the changes or go back to old routines after restrictions have been lifted?
  • Strengths
  1. Are there any personal strengths which emerged during the pandemic?
  2. Are there any personal strengths which you take for granted?
  3. Is there any way in which you can share your strengths with others?
  4. What did you have to give up in order to look at your strengths?
  • Spiritual Change
  1. Has your perspective been affected in relation to the way you think the world works?
  2. Do you feel more connected to yourself or to your surroundings?
  3. What did you have to give up in order to feel more connected?
  • Appreciation
  1. Did the pandemic make you reflect on what you are grateful for having?
  2. Have you lost appreciation for certain individuals or objects during the pandemic?
  3. Do you have any intentions on expressing and nurturing your appreciation for those around you or the items which you value?
  4. What did you have to give up in order to experience more appreciation in your life?

References

Van Deurzen, E. (2012). Existential Counselling & Psychotherapy in practice. Sage:UK

Tedeschi, R. G., & Calhoun, L. G. (2004). Posttraumatic Growth: Conceptual Foundations and Empirical Evidence. Psychological Inquiry, 15(1), 1–18.

Karl Grech is a counsellor. He offers counselling to both individuals and couples within Willingness. He can be contacted on karl@willingness.com.mt or call us on 79291817.