Resilience is the ability to rebuild after a trauma. There are factors that promote resilience. A therapist can help a person to start a process of resilience.
What is resilience?
The word resilience comes from the Latin resilientia, a word used in the field of metallurgy to signify the ability of a material to return to an initial state after a shock or under continuous pressure.
The term resilience is a concept of psychology which refers to the skills of individuals, groups, families to deal with deleterious or destabilizing situations: illness, handicap, traumatic event … Resilience is the ability to emerge victorious ‘an ordeal that could have been traumatic.
This concept was brought up in the 1940s by American psychologists and was popularized by Boris Cyrulnik, French neuropsychiatrist and psychoanalyst. He defines resilience as “the ability to develop anyway, in environments that should have been dilapidated”.
What does resilient mean?
The concept of resilience is applied to two types of situations: to people who are said to be at risk and who manage to develop without psychological damage and who adapt socially despite very unfavorable family and social living conditions, and to people, adults or children, who rebuild after traumatic ordeals or events.
Dr. Boris Cyrulnik gave a description of the profile of the resilient individual since 1998
The resilient individual (regardless of age) would be a subject with the following characteristics:
able to be autonomous and efficient in dealing with the environment,
feeling their own worth,
with good interpersonal skills and empathy,
able to anticipate and plan,
and having a sense of humor.
Individuals who have an aptitude for resilience are in the current influenced by Boris Cyrulnick of people who received in the beginning of their lives a little affection and had an acceptable response to their physical needs, which created in them some form of resistance to adversity.
Resilience, how does it work?
The functioning of resilience breaks down into two stages:
1st time: the time of the trauma: the person (adult or child) resists psychic disorganization by putting in place defense mechanisms that will allow them to adapt to reality.
2nd time: the time of integration of the shock and repair. After the break-in of the trauma, there is a gradual restoration of ties, then a reconstruction from adversity. This requires the need to make sense of one’s injury. The evolution of this process tends towards resilience when the person has regained his ability to hope. She can then enroll in a life project and have personal choices.
Resilient process through others or therapy
Antoine Guédeney, child psychiatrist and member of the Paris Institute of Psychoanalysis wrote in a book ” we are not resilient alone, without being in contact”. Thus, affective factors have a very important role in resilience. Those who can count on the affection of their loved ones have in them capacities to overcome a trauma.
The path to resilience is also rarely done alone. It is often made operational by the intervention of another person: a tutor for children or young people, a teacher, a caregiver. Boris Cyrulnick speaks of “tutors of resilience”.
Therapy can try to bring about a resilient process. The objective of the therapeutic work is to transform the trauma into a motor.