Building Resilience

Since covid I have received many requests for help from adults and parents of children/young adults who are having difficulties and feelings of anxiousness following personal experiences of the pandemic. To ensure my helping strategies are appropriately informed I have researched several models of resilience in the hope that I might gain deeper understanding of the fears and anxiety associated with trauma and be more fully equipped professionally to support those affected. I don’t think it is too strong a statement to say that everyone will during their lifetime experience a deeply distressing or disturbing experience or physical injury that will leave them feeling traumatised.

Resilience is described as an individual’s ability to cope with trauma, adversity and hardship measured by how quickly they recover or “bounce-back” to being happy and successful after something difficult or bad has happened. It is accepted that there are four main types of resilience Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Social and very often how a person behaves following a traumatic event may indicate where gaps in their resilience might lie. Many theories and models support professional helping strategies. Seligman’s 3Ps positive psychology framework model – Personalization, Pervasiveness, and Permanence – refer to three emotional reactions that we tend to have to adversity (1). The five R’s of energy resiliency – Robustness, Redundancy, Resourcefulness, Response and Recovery are important attributes of withstanding, responding to and recovering from disruptions (2) Dr Arielle Schwartz’s  6 Pillars of Resilience – Satisfaction with Lifestyle (people who lead a satisfying & fulfilling life tend to cope better with stress & adversity). Supportive Relationships. Physical Wellbeing. Solution-Focused Coping. Emotion-Focused Coping. Positive Beliefs (3). Dr Ginsburg’s 7 C’s of resilience that together allow a child to show resilience in the face of life’s challenges: Competence, Confidence, Connection, Character, Contribution, Coping, and Control (4). As a holistic practitioner my helping strategy will vary person to person utilising a range of approaches and skills depending on individual need. Identification of the trauma trigger is a good place to begin the process however this will very much depend on the nature of the trauma. Some may have great difficulty putting past hurts into words and whilst talking therapies are frequently used as a stand alone method of support. I have found that integrating  Diet/Nutrition, Homoeopathy and Clinical Reflexology most effective. With the aim of re-balancing the sympathetic and para-sympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system to ease the physical symptoms associated with trauma Clinical Reflexology encourages the individual to feel relaxed, safe and secure. It is recognised that when relaxed many find it easier to share feelings……..sometimes tears flow………Readers will be aware of my mantra that there is a symbiotic relationship between physical and mental/emotional pain. So in easing the physical symptoms of trauma the mental and emotional symptoms ease and vice versa bringing about balance and positive behaviour change. Whilst some naturally have a built-in resilience others can learn behaviours that build resilience. Kendra Cherry MSEd in her Everything Psychology Book provides 10 ways to build resilience – Finding purpose. Believing in yourself. Developing a social network. Embracing change. Being optimistic. Nurturing yourself. Developing problem-solving skills. Establishing goals. Taking action. Committing to building skills over time (5). From a personal perspective as a free spirited great grandma, I feel blessed to be naturally resilient apart from one aspect of my behaviour  (guess which one !) I have identified my “gap” and am about to address this by going on a restful nurturing spa based break. If you would like help to build your resilience feel free to get in touch. I am always happy to help.

1.The Palgrave Handbook of Positive Education htts// The Mental Wellbeing Toolbox Handbook. Bristol Acu 2. The post-Traumatic Growth Guidebook. Dr Arielle Schwartz.3. Angie Hart and Derek Blincow Resilience Framework.4. Dr K Ginsburg. htts/ resilience in children: the 7C’s of resilience. 5. to become more resilient-2795063 Kendra Cherry updated 6th Oct 2022.