Resiliency is the ability to bend and flex with adversity and challenge. In order for a tree to grow, it must have healthy soil, appropriate nutrients, and a supportive environment. Otherwise, its limbs will snap the moment a storm comes. Similarly, a resilient family must have a bonding foundation, supportive environment, and tools to manage that “storm.” This is prevention.
In this day and age, with our chaotic lives and busy schedules, we typically don’t take the time to check in with ourselves and family members to see “where we’re at.” Unfortunately, it often takes a crisis, wake-up call, or rock-bottom event before we are willing to seek assistance. At other times, it is the unexpected change, (such as an unfriendly divorce or a combat deployment) that causes childhood depression or anxiety, forcing a parent to finally pick up the phone for help. The public health model promotes a different approach: If we are able to get ahead of our problems and strengthen ourselves, we build resiliency.
I embrace this philosophy when working with the family system. I take a strength based approach to help families identify what is already working, so that they can continue practicing it. From there, we identify what tools will help them become even stronger. It might be managing feelings, stress reduction skills, effective communication, practical goal-setting, or improved problem solving. The end result? Cohesive families comprised of satisfied parents and happy children.