Resilience Forum

COPs and Social Learning Theory
Friday 30 June - FREE
1.15pm – 3.00pm
Brunswick, Central Library,
Queen Street, Blackpool


Children and Young People's Mental Health
Thursday 6 July
8.30am - 4.30pm
Royal National Hotel, London


Free 2hr intro to resilience
Thur 4 May - Free

Intro to Resilient Therapy
Mon 15 May - Free/£120

Practitioner resilience
Tue 16 May - Free/£120

Understanding the Academic Resilience Approach
Fri 5 May - Free/£120

More workshops...

ARA intensive 3 day course
Mon 8-Wed 10 May - £300

Introduction to resilience
Mon 19 Jun - £120

Practitioner resilience
Mon 3 July - £120

Understanding the Academic Resilience Approach
Tue 26 Sep - £120

More workshops...

New Products!

Boingboing's new range of co-produced resilience tools developed by young people facing challenges
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Resilience Framework CYP

What is resilience?

We like the definition that was coined by developmental psychologist Ann Masten.  She describes resilience as ‘Ordinary Magic’, meaning that in many cases, a resilient outcome doesn’t come about as a result of something particularly earth shattering happening, it’s just everyday stuff, like getting a teacher to give a bit more attention to a particularly disadvantaged child for example.  Masten describes it as:

‘Positive adaptation to adversity despite serious threats to adaptation or development’.

This is a useful basic definition but quite a few others have elaborated. Here is Angie’s favourite, because using it makes her look brainy. It was coined by Roisman, Padrón and colleagues in 2002:

‘Resilience is an emergent property of a hierarchically organized set of protective systems that cumulatively buffer the effects of adversity and can therefore rarely, if ever, be regarded as an intrinsic property of individuals.’  (Roisman et al., 2002, p. 1216)

You can download the full article (pdf).

There is a lively debate about the meaning of the term, particularly whether we can talk about resilience being something inside us (something we’re born with, if you like), or whether it is more complicated than that.  Over the years, we’ve steered more towards definitions that focus on external processes and mechanisms, and definitions that help us to think through what those of us in networks supporting disadvantaged people can do to make a difference. In our most recent book, we talk about resilient moves being:

‘The kinds of things we need to make happen (e.g. events, parenting strategies, relationships, resources) to help children manage life when it’s tough. Plus ways of thinking and acting that we need ourselves if we want to make things better for children.’  (Aumann & Hart, 2009, p. 11)

In the last few years, definitions of resilient practice have merged so that they are starting to emphasise what people can actually do to improve the odds for those having a particularly tough time of it. These are the definitions we get excited about.

‘Adequate provision of health resources necessary to achieve good outcomes in spite of serious threats to adaptation or development.’  (Ungar, 2005, p. 429)

Some people have used the academic research to develop ways of working with people to help make resilient moves in their lives. Our work is part of this.

Another working definition (as of December 2013) that Angie and other boingboingers have come up with is:

'Resilience is overcoming adversity, whilst also potentially subtly altering, or even dramatically transforming, (aspects of) that adversity.'