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In this article we critique current conceptualizations and methods of studying posttraumatic growth and offer an alternative framework using clinical trauma theory, specifically, Constructivist Self Development Theory (CSDT). We identify five limitations in the current literature: (1) a strict adherence to nomothetic investigation, (2) reliance on moderator analyses over descriptive inquiry, (3) exclusive use of univariate outcome indicators, (4) failure to distinguish effortful from automatic change, and (5) oversight of abrupt change. We offer CSDT as an integrative clinical theory that identifies five aspects of the self affected by traumatic events and examine how the study of thriving guided by CSDT could overcome these limitations. We conclude with a discussion of change, distinguishing that which occurs within psychotherapy from that which occurs outside the therapeutic context.