Skip to Content

Stories from Backstage

The Silver Lining Does Exist, and it’s called Post Traumatic Growth.

Ashley Logan is a Licensed Professional Counselor, and a member of the SIMS Provider Network.

This has been a harrowing global experience. The disruption to “normalcy” has affected every facet of our lives: spiritually, financially, physically, mentally, intrapersonally, interpersonally and professionally.

Some people are struggling to cope while some people are thriving.  The stay at home orders have unforeseen dangers of isolation, quarantining with abusive family members or our own personal demons, fears of financial ruin or death, boredom, stress, grief, mental and physical problems, and growth. Yes, you read that right, growth. It’s called Post Traumatic Growth or PTG.

The pioneers of PTG are Drs. Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun, psychology professors at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. PTG is what can happen after trauma to a survivor. This growth is defined as a process of positive changes that result from life crises or traumas. PTG has five main components: gratitude, healthy social support systems, hope, personal strengths and spiritual or religious beliefs.

Within each of the five components lie a network of other emotions and skills. Gratitude is definitely an attitude. A perspective of acceptance, appreciation of lessons learned and taught can bring immense value to life. Gratitude requires purposeful mindfulness, which defeats the anxious thoughts of a future we cannot ultimately control. Healthy Support Systems are key to our survival and health as humans. This pandemic has hopefully shown us how connected we are, as well as the systemic systems that do not serve us.

Hope is contagious. It is audacious in the face of fear and suffering. It is what humanity brings to each challenge and clings to in a setback. Spiritual or Religious beliefs give meaning to our lives and values. They connect us to each other, whether we believe we are connected to the universe or a god(s). This reinforces the importance systems, specifically the importance of culture in our lives. Finally, Personal Strengths are the unique examples of how we have overcome adversities in the past. At times, we forget that these skills exist such as our humor, creativity or empathy. Our emotional intelligence, insightfulness, ability to forgive and be forgiven, and learning through crises make us stronger, together.

And let’s not forget time. Some things in life are inevitable, time is always a constant universal experience. All the elements of PTG are accomplished through this continuum. So now that we have all this time on our hands, how we can welcome PTG into our lives?

Here are a few unsolicited writing prompts aka homework/self-work:

  1. What am I grateful for spiritually, financially, physically, mentally, intrapersonally, interpersonally and professionally? How do I show others my gratitude?
  2. Who are the members of my healthy support systems? What healthy support systems am I a member of? When a vaccine is approved, what can I do to dismantle the systems that didn’t serve humanity or my community during this pandemic?
  3. What is my hope spiritually, financially, physically, mentally, intrapersonally, interpersonally and professionally?
  4. How are my spiritual/religious beliefs directing my thoughts or actions during the pandemic?
  5. What are some of my personal strengths that I have displayed during this pandemic? Where did I get them from and what new strengths have, I developed?


For more information on PTG, check out Supersurvivors: The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success by David B. Feldman, Upside: The New Science of Post Traumatic Growth by Jim Rendon or visit Drs. Calhoun and Tedeschi directly at

Back to top