Are there things we can do in our lives or at work to build ways of managing life resiliently? What helps us to successfully cope with hazards, stress and adversity? These are the sorts of questions that fed into the Resilient Therapy background, and prompted the development of the Resilience Framework. We have translated resilience research and practice findings into strategic ways of thinking and practical ways of doing, that nurture resilience in children and young people.

The Resilience Framework visually shows you how we have split our ideas under five headings or compartments – Basics, Belonging, Learning, Coping and Core Self – to help us think strategically and practically about doing things resiliently. Within each of these compartments (or potion bottles if you like the magic box idea), is a selection of evidenced based ideas or remedies, to draw on when trying to make a resilient move with a child or young person.  In a nutshell, they include:

Basics – The resilience research didn’t have that much to say about the basic things we need in life to get by, but from our practice and parenting experience, we think that attending to the Basics is seriously important.  So the ideas in this section are all about sorting out seemingly simple things. But as anyone who’s ever had no fixed abode will know, having a decent roof over your head is something worth prioritising.  And for some people, it’s no good going on about other things in their life, like careers or school work for example, unless you get some of these basics sorted first.

Belonging – This puts good relationships at the heart of things. It focuses on reminding us to have and look after healthy relationships and to tap into good influences instead of bad ones. It recommends concentrating on the good times and places, find people our children can count on and remain hopeful about building new contacts.

Learning – The importance of finding out about and discovering new things. So it’s not just about sorting a child’s schooling, although this is really important, it’s also about less formal ways of learning, like making sure we develop interests, talents and life skills. It encourages us to follow up new and old interests, dare to have a vision for a life plan or a future full of doing new things. It reminds us of the value of getting organized, noticing our achievements and developing new skills.

Coping – This is all about those things we and our children do to help us get by in everyday ways. Like those times when we need to be brave, solve problems and stand up for our own views and beliefs. It’s about putting on rose-tinted glasses when we need to, looking after our talents, finding ways to stay calm, remembering that tomorrow’s a new day and leaning on others when its necessary.

Core Self – This puts the focus on our inner worlds – those thoughts and beliefs we have about ourselves that build our characters. This potion concentrates on ways of being hopeful, finding our own sense of morality, using all of our senses to get a good solid idea of who we are. It encourages us to take responsibility for ourselves, face problems and seek help when it makes sense to do so.

We also have a group of four ‘noble truths’ that underpin these 5 potions and their remedies. These are those fundamental starting places we need if we are interested in building resilient capital with children, young people and families. They encapsulate the underlying beliefs, values and attitudes needed to make RT work and include: acceptance, conservation, commitment and enlisting.  While not unique to RT – you’ll find them in some shape or form in most therapeutic schools of thought including for example, Rogerian, psycho-dynamic, cognitive behavioural and family therapy approaches – they are essential to successful RT work.

Getting started with Resilient Therapy

We have found over the years that most folk interested in resilience, are doing lots of resilient building work already – they just might not have called it that before. So you might find it’s more straightforward than you imagined. There are no strict rules about how to use the Resilient Therapy approach but the Resilience Framework is often our starting point. While the Resilience Framework looks very simple, there’s quite a lot of work behind it.

If you really want to get stuck into understanding how we put it together, and get more information about how to use it, you need to get hold of one of our books or have been on one of our training courses, otherwise you might find it a bit tricky. But feel free to give it a go anyway, and you’re the sort of person who likes a bit of a recipe approach, then take a look at our 10 Steps to Applying Resilient Therapy reminder sheet.

We’ve organised quite a few Communities of Practice (CoPs) around resilience and Resilient Therapy, you can learn a bit more about these on our How we work page. Our resilience approach has also been adapted for schools and you can find out more in our section on the Academic Resilience Approach.

“I think Resilient Therapy cuts to what matters. It is a steady, solid approach. It gives me confidence to do what I know works: to hang in there with families; to accept where families are now and accept myself; to make use of families’ resources and support access to help they need.”  (Play Therapist)

Here is a short video on Resilient Therapy by the ESRC: