Relationship Breakdown and Post-traumatic Growth

 

It is perhaps not talked about enough, but many people actually respond to distressing events by experiencing post-traumatic growth - that is, they may become stronger personally. They may say things like "I wouldn't ever have chosen to go through that painful break-up with my partner, but because of it, I have changed in some powerful and profound ways". I think an unfortunate aspect of being human is that we often don't make changes until the level of discomfort and stress in our lives, for whatever reason, compels us to do so!

No-one ever enters into a marriage or intimate partnership intending it to end. Some people struggle for years afterwards with a sense of having failed, feeling unable to trust themselves or another again, or with a low sense of their own value. But some fortunate people are able to move through a process where they find a sense of meaning about what has gone wrong. They may talk about the valuable lessons they have learned, necessary mistakes that have taught them things they may not have learned any other way. They may even describe themselves as better equipped to create and maintain a healthy relationship in future. These people have experienced 'post-traumatic growth'. They may or may not have utilized counselling to help them achieve this, but it is likely they would have sought out some sort of assistance to guide and support them through the process.

 

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