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It’s PTSD Month, but Let’s Talk About Posttraumatic GROWTH Instead: Choose Growth Campaign Delivers a Narrative of Hope

Date:Thursday June 13, 2024

The Following is a Guest Post by By Josh Goldberg, CEO Boulder Crest Foundation


Mandy Pifer — who lost her first responder fiancé in an ISIS-related shooting in 2015 — said it best, “You have to know Posttraumatic Growth exists in order for it to happen. You have to know it’s okay for good things to happen after really bad things.”


June is PTSD Awareness Month — I often wonder why we choose to spend a full month raising awareness about a subject that everyone is already aware of.


For far too long we have focused exclusively on the negative impacts of trauma and struggle. This narrative is dominated by ideas of dysfunction, disorder, and diagnosis. This language can feel debilitating – a label too heavy to carry. The result: we are left feeling permanently diminished and damaged; a victim to the worst experiences of our life.


At Boulder Crest, we train First Responders, Veterans and active-serving military to thrive in the aftermath of trauma using the science of Posttraumatic Growth (PTG). Last year, in an effort to balance the story we tell about struggle and trauma, we led the charge to have June 13th designated Posttraumatic Growth Day.


PTG is the centuries-old idea that struggle can be a catalyst for profound growth and transformation. It’s the hero’s journey from Star Wars and every blockbuster from your childhood. It’s cited in ancient literature and religious texts. It’s the oldest idea you’ve never heard of. And in 1995, it became a scientific framework thanks to the work of Dr. Richard Tedeschi and Dr. Lawrence Calhoun.


I’m proud to lead an organization that is the home of PTG. We are committed — as evidenced by the 100,000 first responders, service members, Veterans, and mental health professionals we have trained over the last 11 years — to balancing this narrative. And enabling the members of the remarkable communities we serve to live great lives. Lives filled with passion, purpose, connection, growth, and service.


It’s time to shift the conversation – and shine a light on the possibility of growth in the aftermath of trauma. We must give people the permission and the training needed to transform their struggle into lifelong growth.


We’ve witnessed the transformative impact our Struggle Well programs have on the first responder community.  We’re on a mission to expand this work; changing the way society thinks, feels, and acts when it comes to struggle. Show people there is another path; teach them to Struggle Well.


The mission has kicked off a movement. To write our own stories– stories of hope, stories of agency, stories of growth. To Choose Growth.



That is why on June 13th, the second-ever National Posttraumatic Growth Day, we are launching the Choose Growth Initiative. Our goal: to ensure that as many people have heard of PTG as have heard of PTSD. And we cannot do this alone — we need your help and your megaphone.


Visit choosegrowth.org to learn more about the effort, or bouldercrest.org to learn about our PTG-based programs that transform trauma into triumph.



“First Responder Peer Support: An Evidence-Informed Approach” (Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 2020) Read more here (SpringerLink).

“The effectiveness of psychological interventions for reducing PTSD and psychological distress in first responders: A systematic review and meta-analysis” (PsycNet, 2021) Read more here (PLOS).

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