April 3, 2020

Post Traumatic Growth from Adversity

Written by Nick PetrieNick Petrie

In working across industries I see many organizations and leaders treating the Corona crisis like a change event. While it is at this stage this thing is about to get a lot bigger. My sense is that in the next weeks and months many individuals, families and organizations are actually heading into a collective trauma.

The infection rates are growing exponentially (NYT):

chart of Infection rates

If this does become a trauma for people there has been a lot of research on what will likely happen next. Some individuals, as well as companies, will experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Some will succumb or not recover back to where they were. Many will recover to their baseline again. And a smaller group will use the event to experience Post Traumatic Growth.


Post Traumatic Growth Chart


Which path individuals and organizations follow will be determined by steps they take (or don’t take) throughout the crisis. I see three phases needed for Post Traumatic Growth to occur and actions and traps for each:


Table - phases of Post Traumatic Growth


I think that individuals, families and organizations that do each of these phases well can grow from the experience. Though from the research not many will take the steps leading to Post Traumatic Growth.

If this event is as serious as the numbers look things will not go back to the same as they were. And neither will we. Where we and and our organizations end up on the curve will be determined by the choices we make at each of the stages above. The challenge and opportunity will be to come out stronger rather than diminished from our collective experience.

6 thoughts on “Post Traumatic Growth from Adversity”

  1. Avatar Patricia SARR says:

    Very useful on an individual level, Nick. Thank you.

  2. Avatar Trish Lees says:

    Thank you – This is a useful perspective that I’d like to share with colleagues. What does B.A. U stand for?

    1. Avatar anne nagle says:

      Hello Trish, I assumed business as usual . A

  3. Avatar Tom Farrell says:

    Thanks Nick, nice article, good perspective. Can you share/cite the primary research sources? Tom

  4. Avatar Nelly says:

    Nick thanks for the article. It was informative.

  5. Avatar Jennifer Clamp says:

    Hi Nick, I’d love to join a webinar to explore how to apply this model with coaching clients. Would you be up for that?

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