The Power of Resilience
“Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress. It means ‘bouncing back’ from difficult situations.”
– American Psychological Association
In graduate school, I had the privilege to work in an alternative high school setting. In this experience, I worked with teenagers with the most amazing qualities. These qualities included being very resourceful, insightful, optimistic, and hard-working…just to name a few. Each of them manifested so much greatness, but this was blinded by their current life circumstances. In addition to having an extensive criminal background, many of them came from single-parent, low-income households, where the expectation was for them to end up incarcerated or dead. It’s a sad reality, but a common one for many youths I’ve encountered in my field. There’s a tendency to focus on the negatives of a person’s life, which hinders the perception of greater things currently taking place or to come to fruition in the future. But how does one focus on the positive when there is so much negativity? How do you not give up?
From one place of employment to the next, these were my reoccurring thoughts and it got to the point that I wanted to do something about it in a creative way. You see, we are all born with some level of resilience. Yes, even the child that is disruptive at school or the teen girl that’s been sexually abused since age six. And yes, even the funny looking kid that struggles socially with his peers. ALL of us have a story. ALL of us have strengths. ALL of us have potential. Resilience is strengthened when there is an established connection with a supportive caregiver, teacher, mentor, or community worker. Through these significant relationships, there are skills that are learned and developed to foster the gradual “bounce back” from adversity.
Through Resilient Child Therapy Institute, my hope is to be that supportive connection to the children and families that I encounter in this work. The idea of establishing a genuine relationship with others to foster change is something anyone can do. This blog will serve as a resource for those looking for guidance and support in fostering resilience in a young person. My ideas about resilience are not the only ideas out there, but they are new in a sense that all people are capable of living a resilient life despite their socio-economic status, education level, cultural background, gender, or religious beliefs.