Posttraumatic Growth: Can Adversity Be Good for You?

Psychology Keynote

In this video you will hear the remarkable stories of teachers, social workers, and principals who suffered greatly through illness, injuries, and difficult pregnancies.

Eventually rising up with time and support to greater heights in their current lives.

Personal Experience

In this video I share examples of how my parents coped with dark times when I was a child.

And how these early experiences became the blueprint for my work in adversity, positive psychology, and growth.

What is Posttraumatic Growth?

Posttraumatic growth (PTG) is defined as positive personal changes that result from a survivor’s ability to cope with trauma and its psychological consequences.

The process of post traumatic growth can lead to

1. improved relationships

2. more compassion

3. openness

4. appreciation for life

5. spiritual growth

6. personal strength

7. renewed sense of possibilities in the world


Key Factors and Outcomes

Source: APA Monitor

Assessment and Resources

  1. PTG Assessment: Post-Traumatic-Growth-Inventory
  2. PTG Research Articles:
  3. American Psychological Association (APA): Growth After Trauma
  4. PTG Interview:–Andrea-Dinardo-ealagi
  5. PTG Workbook: The Posttraumatic Growth Workbook: Coming Through Trauma Wiser, Stronger, and More Resilient
Source: PTG Workbook

Psychology Reflection Questions

1. Do you believe the benefits of adversity outweigh the negatives?

2.  Which factors hinder an individual’s ability to recover and bounce back?

3. Which factors enhance an individual’s capacity for resilience and posttraumatic growth (PTG)?

4. Is the recovery and resilience for physical health trauma the same or different as mental health adversity? Why or why not?

5. Is posttraumatic growth possible for everybody?


Speech Video → Watch Here

Personal Video → Watch Here

20 thoughts on “Posttraumatic Growth: Can Adversity Be Good for You?

Add yours

  1. This is a very timely post, Andrea. I am in the final stages of preparing a poetry book for self publication around the middle of the month. Many of the poems deal specifically with healing from trauma. To the point: I have been rather concerned that my take on the subject is aligned with the best science on the subject. Would it be alright to send you a short poem or two? I mean, could you take a look and let me know if I am unawares giving bad advice in the poems?

    1. Good for you Paul!

      Writing is a powerful way to find meaning and transform trauma and adversity.
      RESEARCH on this topic
      — Writing about the Perceived Benefits of Traumatic Events: Implications for Physical Health

      Though I cannot review and advise you per se about your specific poetry on this topic (conflict of issue according to APA for psychologists) I can suggest that you frame your book as reflections, personal experiences, and inspiration versus advice.

      Add a disclaimer that at the beginning of the book to protect yourself and your readers.

      This is what I use when I write professionally:
      “ Disclaimer. This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment.”

      I hope that helps!

      Savour your creativity and trust that the people who are meant to discover your poetry book… 📚🌿

      1. 1. Do you believe the benefits of adversity outweigh the negatives?
        Yes, in the long term. There must be tension to grow.

        2. Which factors hinder an individual’s ability to recover and bounce back?
        Bitterness, a focus on unfairness, inability or unwillingness to process the events, holding too tightly to the past, having little or nothing to look forward to

        3. Which factors enhance an individual’s capacity for resilience and post-traumatic growth (PTG)?
        Faith, support team, recognition of a need, surrender to treatment, working the plan

        4. Is the recovery and resilience for physical health trauma the same or different as mental health adversity? Why or why not?
        Trauma is trauma whether physical or mental. Both are very real to the person who experienced it. Mental trauma often plays itself out in a physical way. Just as physical trauma has its mental component. I think the differences are more subtle than one might think.

        1. I so appreciate you taking the time to read and reflect on this post Jay. Your answers add so much to this post! Underscoring the complex nature of healing and recovery. One size does not fit all. Something you give proof to right here ^ thank you!

  2. Love this and never thought about trauma in this way. Thanks for keeping me thinking Dr. D! I’m actually in the midst of deep reflection about several traumatic incidences and this will come in handy.

    1. There is no higher compliment than “I’ve never thought about it this way”. Thank you Dr. G! For being willing to dig deeeeep + reach UPPP in your reflections. Sending you an extra dose of love and tenderness as you explore the trauma and the lessons in the adversity. There may be a book or two… in the exploration. This I foresee for you. xo

  3. Do you believe the benefits of adversity outweigh the negatives?
    Form an old professional athlete, adversity uncovers who we are. The ability to endure loss, get back up, assess our weakness, then all out effort to improve is the only way.
    No pain no gain in perspective is optimal.

    The same event crushes one person, while it challenges or inspires another.

    Adversity follows each one of us.

    2.  Which factors hinder an individual’s ability to recover and bounce back?
    Being a victim, not taking responsibility for,your life

    Not taking action is the biggest thing I see. Hard to change a habit without struggle

    3. Which factors enhance an individual’s capacity for resilience and post-traumatic growth (PTG)?

    Courage, daily action and the right tools. Takes courage to face your trauma fears. Our fight or flight mechanism dumps adrenaline and cortisol along with kind of shutting off rational cognition.

    You have to be humble, courageous to,sit alone with your demons. It is a journey not a destination

    4. Is the recovery and resilience for physical health trauma the same or different as mental health adversity? Why or why not?

    The mind is the same, emotional pain and physical pain are read in the same region of the brain

    We heal by letting go and staying present. We heal by not dissociating not isolating, not running, not trying to think our way out.

    PTSD can not be reached consciously

    1. Your writing is poetry Marty! Thank you for sharing your insights & experiences on PTSD & PTG. Every time I read your words, I am elevated in both thought and spirit. Grateful for your life’s work.

  4. I think it depends on the person. An open mind and a will to heal I think are necessary for PTG. Some people get stuck and just can’t move forward. Sometimes the pain we know feels safe.

    1. Thank you VJ! I love that my energy travels all the way down the 401. (smiling big time as I type this!)

      Your description of how the challenges in your life have shaped you warm my heart.

      Everything you’ve shared shines through in both your writing & your thoughtful dialogues.

      Wishing you a wonderful night!


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