By Sarah Rosenfeld, Supervisor, Counselling Services, Catholic Family Service
What does this word mean and how do we know we have witnessed it in others? How do we know if we are ourselves resilient? As a counselor with Catholic Family Service, I have the privilege of witnessing and practicing resilience every day.
Resilience has been defined as an ability to be flexible and respond to changes in environment and circumstance [i]. I have the opportunity to work with families, couples and individuals who find themselves in vulnerable situations at difficult times in their lives. The clients at Catholic Family Service demonstrate resilience every day and in every way. I have seen fathers and mothers access much-needed counseling support for their children who feel isolated, disconnected and afraid. When parents seek support for their families and the betterment of their children and their futures, I know I am in the presence of resilience. When a couple, whose sole breadwinner is laid off without any prospect of work, comes to counselling together with the goal of strengthening their marriage, I am in the presence of resilience. When a single unemployed female with chronic mental health issues finds and secures meaningful employment, I am witnessing resilience. These stories and these people inspire me!
I get to practice resilience by staying engaged, committed, caring and mindful. These are key ingredients to effective and helpful therapeutic relationships [ii]. I show engagement by being fully present, listening intently and offering something of value. I am committed to my clients by making myself available at times that work best for them. I truly care about my clients and their well-being. I am mindful about what I do and how I do it by intentionally being involved in a daily practice of self-reflection.
Counselling is a rare relationship where, if we are lucky enough, we show our clients and they show us how we can adapt to change and make the best of the most difficult situations. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to work with such wonderful, courageous and resilient people.
[i] Schore, Allan N. (2012). The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
[ii] Siegel, Daniel J. (2010). The Mindful Therapist: A Clinician’s Guide to Mindsight and Neural Integration. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
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