Resilience to Trauma

What is Resilience to trauma?

My self-reflection, research and teaching others concluded that resilience has been attributed to humour, a positive sense of self efficacy, flexible adaptable personality and ability to problem solve.

The American Psychological Association website states: “Many studies show that the primary factor in resilience is having caring and supportive relationships within and outside the family. Relationships that create love and trust, provide role models and offer encouragement and reassurance help bolster a person’s resilience. Additionally;
1. The capacity to make realistic plans and take steps to carry them out.
2. A positive view of yourself and confidence in your strengths and abilities.
3. Skills in communication and problem solving.
4. The capacity to manage strong feelings and impulses.
All of these are factors that people can develop in themselves.”

This validates what I’ve observed in others and in  trying to answer people’s questions about my own evolution as trauma specialist, from first encountering an extreme traumatic event at 17 years of age.

Post traumatic Growth

Resilience to trauma doesn’t necessarily result in Post traumatic Growth.  An article which is worth purchasing is

Posttraumatic Growth and Resilience to Trauma: Different Sides of the Same Coin or Different Coins?

Maren Westphal and George A. Bonanno*  Article first published online: 26 JUN 2007; DOI: 10.1111/j.1464-0597.2007.00298.x

states the following in the abstract:-

“Posttraumatic growth (PTG) is an appealing but poorly understood construct. Hobfoll, Hall, Canetti-Nisim, Galea, Johnson, and Palmieri’s (2007) insightful paper highlights important weaknesses in existing theory and data. Although we commend Hobfoll et al. for offering a provocative new way to conceptualise PTG in terms of action-focused growth, we also find a number of limitations in their approach. In this article, we attempt to place PTG within a broader framework of individual differences in response to potential trauma. As in most of the literature on PTG, Hobfoll et al. implicitly equate growth with resilience or view it as superior to resilient outcomes. We argue, however, that many if not most people are resilient in the face of trauma and that resilient outcomes typically provide little need or opportunity for PTG. We close by exploring the literature on resilience for possible mechanisms underlying a link between PTG and adaptation. For example, Hobfoll et al. dismiss some forms of reported growth as illusory. In contrast, we review evidence for the adaptive value of self-enhancing illusions in coping with adversity.”

These results validate my personal and professional experience.

Resilience to trauma helps some people recover quickly or are unaffected. Post traumatic Growth usually requires a journey through PTSD to positive outcomes

more to come.