ABSTRACT

The human mind is a self-evolving system that develops along a multidimensional hierarchical pathway in response to traumatic stimulus. In absence of trauma, a mind integrated in conflict-free state is called monistic. When the monistic mind responses to a traumatic stimulus, a response polarity forms toward stimulus polarity within the mind, turning it into a bipartite structure. Dialectical interaction between the two opposites, originating from their incompatibility, creates a new third polarity in the upper dimension. Thereby, the mind turns into a trinity structure. When the interaction among the three polarities becomes optimized, the plasticity of the mind gets maximized into the “far-from-equilibrium state,” and the function of three polarities is synchronized. Through this recalibration, the mind returns back to its monistic structure. If the mind with the recurred monistic structure responds to another traumatic stimulus, this cycle of hierarchical transformation repeats itself in this cyclical and fractal growth process through synchronization of basic trinity system. Applying this concept to the process of post-traumatic growth (PTG), this paper explores how the mind transforms traumatic experiences into PTG and proposes a ‘PTG Clock’ that shows a fundamental sequence in the development of the human mind. The PTG Clock consists of seven hierarchical phases, and each of the first six phases has two opposite sub-phases: shocked/numbed, feared/intrusive, paranoid/avoidant, obsessional/explosive, dependent/depressive, and meaningless/searching for meaning. The seventh, the synchronization phase, completes one cycle of the mind’s transformation, realizing a grand trinity system, where the mind synchronizes its biological, social, and existential dimensions. At that point, the mind becomes more susceptible to not only the stimulus of its own traumatic experience but also the pain of others. Thereby, the PTG Clock sets out on a journey to another cycle of transformation in higher dimensions. The validity of this transformational process for the PTG Clock will be examined by comparing it to Horowitz’s theory of stress response syndrome.

KEYWORD

trauma, cognition, emotion, transformation, growth, process

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