Masten resilience

In times like these, the executives who run Nokia talk up a uniquely Finnish quality called sisu . "The translation would be 'guts,' " says Jorma Ollila, CEO of Nokia, in an interview. (Photograph Caption: Jorma Ollila says Nokia is determined to 'overcome all obstacles.') "But it's also endurance. There is a long-term element to it. You overcome all obstacles. You need quite a lot of sisu to survive in this climate." The climate he's referring to is the bleak and bitter Nordic winters, but he might as well be talking about the competitive, erratic wireless-phone market and Nokia's travails. This sisu trait—anathema to Wall Street 's short-term outlook—says a lot about Nokia's response to its recent turmoil.

Current literature on resilience has implications for informing practices for children following exposure to traumatic events in early childhood. The strongest evidence for resilience supports parental characteristics, especially support and emotional availability as being most important to help young children. Following a traumatic event, parents should be encouraged to take care of themselves and their own psychological well-being, since parental psychological resilience and strong parental support systems are protective factors for young children. Parents should also try to re-establish some sense of normalcy and routine as soon as possible, although after some disasters and trauma, this may require establishment of a “new normal” if return to previous patterns and routines is not possible. 35 Parents should also ensure they provide not only physical availability, but also emotional availability and sensitivity to their children’s emotional reactions.  If they are able to do so supportively, parents should listen to their children, discuss the traumatic event with them at an age-appropriate level when they are ready, and allow children to ask questions. This approach gives parents the opportunity to re-establish safety and provide reassurance for children. If parents feel unable to handle these tasks on their own and provide needed support for their children, they should seek professional help from a counselor who is trauma-informed who can help support the parent and child and, if needed, provide appropriate therapeutic treatment.

An active decision to act
In the ETI roadmap, the fifth stage is action.  Three things need to be part of action for it to be effective: (1) The timing of action needs to be chosen by the survivor, not imposed by life, by other people, or by the therapist; (2) Action needs to engage with the trauma story or the pain and injury that resulted from the aftermath of it; (3) Action needs to involve some element of emotional risk for the survivor, no matter how small (thereby expanding the window of tolerance).

Risk, for a trauma survivor?  Yes! 
In the third point above, I highlight the importance of risk.  This may seem surprising in work with people who’ve endured great loss.  But risk is unavoidable for living well and one of the greatest damages trauma inflicts is deep fear of it.  Since risk is so intertwined with life itself, that translates, in practical terms, into something pretty close to deep fear of life itself.  

Masten resilience

masten resilience


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