Richard Tedeschi, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychological Science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Distinguished Chair of the Boulder Crest Institute for Posttraumatic Growth, in Bluemont, Virginia. He has published several books and numerous professional articles on posttraumatic growth, an area of research that he developed that examines personal transformations in the aftermath of traumatic life events. Dr. Tedeschi serves as a consultant to the American Psychological Association on trauma and resilience, is a Fellow of the Division of Trauma Psychology and the Division of Psychotherapy, and is Past President of the North Carolina Psychological Association.
The concept of posttraumatic growth (PTG), that is, how people report personal transformations in the aftermath of traumatic events is an emerging area of research and clinical focus. These growth experiences are relatively common, but often ignored in standard trauma practice due to relatively few clinicians fully understanding the concept. In order to enhance trauma-focused clinical services, professionals should learn to integrate the PTG model into their trauma treatment strategies and practice. PTG is based on an integrative cognitive-existential-narrative theoretical foundation. The theoretical foundation of PTG also informs a highly effective intervention strategy that has been labeled “Expert Companionship”. Using the Expert Companionship clinical approach in treating trauma survivors facilitates personal development beyond the reduction of symptoms of trauma. In fact, trauma survivors are able to both reduce symptoms of PTSD and related conditions and learn to use their difficult life experiences as a means to live a more rewarding and fulfilling life. This is important considering the field of mental health recognizes that standard practice for PTSD has important limitations. This posttraumatic growth based approach shows promise for addressing these limitations.