The relationship between post-traumatic growth and Jung's idea of individuation has been explored by many modern psychologists. Jung's individuation process involves personal growth and self-realisation, which involves becoming aware of one's identity, purpose and potential. Additionally, it involves integrating the conscious and unconscious parts of the self. The link between the two areas can be further elucidated by comparing Jung's and contemporary psychologists' views on post-traumatic growth.
Jung believed it was essential to explore the depths of the unconscious to achieve true self-knowledge. He argued that the deepest layers of the psyche, what he called the "shadow," held important secrets about ourselves. To achieve individuation, Jung proposed that we must make a conscious effort to embrace the shadow and allow its lessons to be integrated with the conscious part of the self. This is a process of turning the unknown into the known.
The concept of post-traumatic growth appears to validate this notion. Research has shown that individuals who have experienced a traumatic event, such as the death of a loved one or a natural disaster, often build a new perspective on life, a greater appreciation of relationships and a higher purpose in life. Furthermore, these individuals often experience shifts in core values and an adjustment in how they view the world. In many ways, this sounds reminiscent of Jung’s idea of self-realisation.
A growing body of research on post-traumatic growth backs up this comparison. For instance, studies have shown that individuals who experience post-traumatic growth often assess their values and strengths more optimistically. This is a kind of self-discovery in which a person finds the strength to overcome adversity and utilise it for his benefit. This mirrors the pivotal Jungian view that embracing the darkness of the shadow will lead to growth and a better understanding of the self. Moreover, it has been suggested that such self-discovery can lead to increased empathy and benevolence in both the individual and society.
From my perspective, it is clear that post-traumatic growth is closely related to Jung's individuation process.