Post Traumatic Growth: A New Term for Vets and Reporters

I learned a new term today: Post Traumatic Growth.

Nicole Schiber, a clinical psychologist and the local recovery coordinator at James A. Haley VA Hospital in Tampa, taught it to me.

Part of her job – and a strong focus of her personal mission – is to make sure people understand that people with severe mental illness do recover.

“I’ve spoken to veterans who were told by their providers from a caring standpoint that now that you have this illness you need to reconsider some of the big events in life, things like getting married or having a full-time job,” Schiber said.

She’s out to change the misconception that people with severe mental illness like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and severe post traumatic stress disorder can’t get better.

They can and they do.

Peer support and family understanding are key to their recovery and so is society. There’s a stigma surrounding mental health illness that can get in the way of that recovery though.

Schiber has made it her mission to change that “culture” and part of that change is the language. So, you have the term Post Traumatic Growth – where they actually measure a veteran’s progress beyond a diagnosis of PTSD.

It’s a change in language and a change in thinking that she hopes will bring about a change in reporting on PTSD. There is growth beyond diagnosis and treatment and it should not define a veteran or anyone with the mental illness.


5 Responses

  1. Therapists are having enough issue healing PTSD. No one ever told me that you can be better than ever.

    My childhood C-PTSD developed survival skills others do not possess. The determination to survive and endure creates character and great qualities.

    Once I healed the world opened up again. I was not damaged I am perfect in this moment. Now, I am happier more relaxed and at peace than anytime in my life.

    We heal fom the inside, exploring our inner world following our breath. Our fiht or flight mechanism is only disordered for now.

    It is not a life sentence, it is just a disorder. Our brains plasticity enables us to change many things.

    • Marty
      Thank you for your insight. I encourage others to check out Marty’s blog: PTSD A Way Out.

      • Thank you for the support you offer here. urgency is what is needed also. Our therapy world is set up to go for years before healing is done.

        This can be changed and we can heal much quicker with a daily practice routine to assist the therapy sessions. A therapist gives direction, we heal at home working with tools to heal.

        Mindfulness benefits all therapies. It is an awareness practice to focus on the breath instead of on our trigger thoughts.

  2. If I may add, this therapist is thinking outside the box and we need more advocates like her.

    We are not damaged goods. Now after all my PTSD has been healed, my life is drastically better.

    I had a car wreck a decade ago which ended my working career and left me an injured spine and chronic pain. I thought life was over. Then my childhood abuse exploded. My life was hell for four years but now it is much better than before.

    before my injury, a healthy me did little to support others. Now injured and with few physical capabilities, I run a PTSD blog and support many. I bring a smile and kindness to all I meet.

    I would not alter my abuse. It has developed the character that is me. It gave mean intrinsic skill to never give up. I have learned not to quit even when hope evaporates.

    If I can stay present and give maximum effort with a smile and positive attitude I am extremely happy.

    True happiness is not found in impermanent things we crave. Things, possessions, status, power, approval or disapproval hold no permanent satisfaction. Give up the idea of control. Let go and observe the scary thoughts.

    I applaud this therapist and support her effort.

  3. […] another of my favorite bloggers, Bobbie O’Brien of Off the Base, wrote of an interview with a psychologist from her local VA who is the local Recovery Coordinator, the liaison for the […]

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