Positive psychology is the scientific study of what enables individuals, organizations, and societies to best develop and flourish. The focus of research is on psychological well-being, cultivation of best practices and resources, and applying the potential of people for a best possible life. Research suggests that between 30-70% of individuals who experienced trauma also report positive change and growth after their traumatic experience. Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG) describes the positive change occurring in an individual after they’ve experienced a highly stressful life event; it recognizes that stress and growth often co-exist. PTG refers to the idea that suffering does not have to debilitate a person. In fact, finding a way to endure through significant suffering can lead to meaningful development of personal character. Reports of post-traumatic growth have been found in people who have experienced bereavement, coping with medical problems, accidents, house fires, sexual assault and sexual abuse, combat, refugee experiences, and being taken hostage. A post-traumatic growth perspective can be used to support children, adults, families, and communities.
Sharon Cyrus-Savary, LMHC, is the Director of CA START (Systemic, Therapeutic, Assessment, Resources, and Treatment) East Bay and San Andreas. With years of experience in developing, implementing, and managing mental health programs, she specializes in a multidisciplinary approach to treatment that includes positive psychology, strength-based approaches, and trauma-informed care. Her experience includes intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism, forensic psychology, child welfare, substance use, and family therapy. Ms. Cyrus-Savary taught college courses and is a subject matter expert and trainer on many topics in mental health. In her current role, Ms. Cyrus-Savary collaborates with state regional centers, community stakeholders, hospitals, and other agencies to coordinate efforts that will increase access to appropriate mental health treatments and supports for individuals with autism and with I/DD and mental health concerns.