The chapter introduces some of the central themes in the empirical and clinical literature on reconstructing meaning after trauma. A certain number of especially resilient people may adjust almost seamlessly to extremely negative events in their lives, whereas many others find that the presuppositions about self and world that sustained them in the past have now been undermined. Their efforts to make new meanings in the wake of trauma involve a wide range of interpretive and strategic operations, from trying to explain how and why the trauma occurred (sense making) to construing personal benefits from adversity. In the most successful outcomes, posttraumatic growth entails constructing a redemptive story around personal trauma and integrating that story within a broader, self-defining life narrative. Making meaning out of trauma through life narration is as much a social phenomenon as a personal one, and it is decisively shaped by culture.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Reconstructing Meaning After Trauma|
|Subtitle of host publication||Theory, Research, and Practice|
|Editors||Elizabeth M Altmaier|
|Number of pages||14|
|State||Published - 2017|