Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected. Sustainability is about survival. The goal of resilience is to thrive. Jamais Cascio
What is does it mean to be resilient?
Mental health professionals working with trauma victims have long recognized that many people exposed to horrific experiences often seem able to cope successfully and even thrive afterward. Whether those experiences occur due to an abusive childhood, dealing with the traumatic aftermath of physical or sexual assault, or recovering from a disaster (man-made or natural), many survivors are still able to move on with the lives without developing the mental health problems often faced by others.
This ability to cope with adversity, often referred to as psychological resilience, has been examined in hundreds of research studies though we still have a limited understanding of what makes some people more resilient than others. Even identifying resilient people can be a problem since they often don’t develop the mental health problems that might otherwise bring them to the attention of health professionals. But is there more to resilience than simply not developing mental health problems? What about the people who are able to grow and flourish because of their ability to cope effectively with what they have experienced?
To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.