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EMDR is based on the Adaptive Information Processing model (AIP), which suggests that our psychological systems are naturally geared to heal from stressful events. This adaptive resolution allows negative experiences to be processed and new learning to take place. This new information is appropriately integrated in the mind-body system and is available for future use in handling life events (Shapiro, 2001).

The possibility that a traumatic event can lead to positive growth and change is not a new concept. Researchers Tedeschi and Calhoun have taken this ancient understanding and measured how positive change can evolve out of human suffering. They have measured areas of growth that are the product of one’s efforts following a traumatic event. The five factors include the following:

  1. Increased intimacy and compassion for others

  2. Increased understanding of one’s personal strengths

  3. A deeper appreciation of life and increased understanding of one’s life purpose

  4. Increased spirituality

  5. New possibilities with one’s life direction and with others (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2004).

It is important to note that positive change and growth do not occur as a direct result of trauma. Posttraumatic growth evolves due to the person’s integration of a new narrative or view of themselves and their world in the aftermath of trauma. This is critical in determining the extent to which posttraumatic growth occurs.

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