Posttraumatic growth (PTG), a relatively new field of psychological research, looking at how trauma can sometimes serve as a catalyst for positive changes in victims’ lives. In some individuals, a traumatic experience, such as a massive car accident, assault, cancer diagnosis, or dog attack, can actually cause them to become stronger people and experience an increase in positive psychological functioning.
Dog attack victims who develop posttraumatic growth will find new, positive ways of looking at the world, have a newfound appreciation for life, and begin to discover possibilities of which they hadn’t previously been aware. They have a survivor mentality, and wind up coming out on the other side of their trauma stronger, more compassionate, and wiser.
Brief Background on Posttraumatic Growth
In the 1990s, two psychologists at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Richard G. Tedeschi, PhD, and Lawrence G. Calhoun, PhD, coined the term “posttraumatic growth” to refer the phenomenon of trauma’s potential to transform victims in positive ways.
The phenomenon was loosely referred to by other names in the past. All the terms were used as way to describe the way some people face a major, painful event.
For people with PTG, instead of succumbing to clinical depression or major anxiety, they wind up using the experience as a learning experience and to help them live at a higher level, for instance, more productively, more philanthropically, or more spiritually than prior to the accident.
Dr. Tedeschi explains that they came upon PTG while working with bereaved parents. In the midst of their own grief, the parents exhibited deep compassion for other parents and resolved themselves to helping others avoid similar tragedies.
Even though “[t]hey’d been through the most shattering kind of loss imaginable,” Dr. Tedeschi explains, these parents “were remarkable and grounded people who were clear about their priorities in life.”
Characteristics of Posttraumatic Growth after a Dog Attack
There are five characteristics mental health specialists look for when determining whether or not dog attack victims are developing PTG.
- Appreciation: Victims will begin to experience a greater appreciation of life and perhaps a change of priorities. They learn to be grateful that they are alive.
- Relationships: When people go through a trauma, they may begin to realize the value of relationships in life, especially when they must lean on their friends and loved ones for support in the aftermath of the attack. Their relationships may be solidified and strengthened after the trauma.
- Inner strength: People who develop PTG may have a greater sense of personal strength and self-confidence that they are able to meet any challenges life may bring.
- Possibilities: Another characteristic of PTG is an awareness of new possibilities. For example, dog attack victims may wish to get involved in local campaigns to reduce the risks of dog attacks. Their traumatic experience inspires them rather than paralyzes them.
- Spiritual growth: While hard to define, victims with PTG seem to experience a growth in their spiritual lives.
What PTG is NOT
It’s important to note that experiencing PTG does not mean the victim is happy the attack occurred. Victims would still give up the effects of the PTG to have not gone through the trauma they went through, explains Dr. Tedeschi according to Live Happy magazine. ““The process of growth does not eliminate the pain of loss and tragedy,” Dr. Calhoun echoes.
PTG also does not negate the presence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In fact, Tedeschi stresses that PTG may coexist with PTSD, and in some cases, PTSD can even form the launching pad for PTG.
Recovery for Dog Attack Victims in Clarksburg
If a loved one was injured in a dog attack in Clarksburg, you may be able to file an injury claim for physical and emotional compensation. This includes your medical bills and mental health care. You are invited to contact the Miley Legal Group to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at 304-931-4088.