Posttraumatic Growth, the Physically Active Body, and Self-Compassion Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/c247dw81j

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  • Individuals who have been traumatized have the opportunity to experience posttraumatic growth, conceptualized as positive changes that result from navigating highly challenging life circumstances (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2004). The current model of posttraumatic growth (Calhoun, Cann, & Tedeschi, 2010) is based solely on cognitive-emotional processing yet by examining the role of the physically active body in supporting this process, we can further understand how to nurture opportunities for experiences of posttraumatic growth. Moreover, the explicit inclusion of self-compassion is arguably warranted in the model given self-compassion also plays a role in posttraumatic growth and complements experiences with the physically active body. The first manuscript in this dissertation is an autoethnography examining my personal experience with posttraumatic growth, my physically active body, and self-compassion. By sharing and examining my own experience, I provide an alternative to the standing paradigm of how physical activity is conceptualized in our culture. In this, I encourage the field of kinesiology to bring attention to how movement and self-compassion can support an individual’s process of healing from hardship. The second manuscript in this dissertation is an empirical investigation that utilized semi-structured interviews to gain an understanding of the contribution of the physically active body and self-compassion in facilitating the process of posttraumatic growth from the perspective of movement specialists (N=10). This research provided insight into how practitioners conceptualized the process of healing and offered practical suggestions as to how to nurture posttraumatic growth in clients. Themes that emerged reflected practitioners’ conceptualization of the personal process of healing as involving connection with, disruption of, and revision to dysfunctional patterns. Environmental supports that contributed to experiential opportunities for healing included: prompting a safe space and nurturing relationships. In combination, results of this dissertation suggest the cognitive-emotional processing required of posttraumatic growth happens through, and is supported by, the physically active body. Such experiences are related to one's ability to practice self-compassion. Practitioners can nurture healing via the integration of physical and contemplative experiences of self-compassion within movement sessions.
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