Two Cape Town psychologists talk about: coping and resilience when the going gets tough.

Every week a psychologist colleague and I get together for peer supervision (we have been having these meetings for more than two years). We both work from a health psychology and positive psychology orientation and also practice clinical hypnotherapy ( including ego-state  therapy and Eriksonian approaches) with our respective clients.

This week one of the subjects under discussion was psychological resilience and effective coping. My colleague works a great deal in a medical setting, where she is called in to counsel patients who are undergoing radical surgery, such as amputations.  She mentioned that she is struck by how some patients manage to bounce back psychologically from this type of traumatic experience whilst others seem to lapse into a state of hopeless depression. (This is an important issue as research has consistently shown how crucial a person’s mental outlook is to their speed or recovery and general prognosis)

We went on to talk about the concept of resilience and whether positive coping and resilience is a given in the personality or if it can be acquired or strengthened through psychotherapy. One’s coping style is so so much part of who we are and on our outlook on life!  If we have meaning in our lives and feel needed and fulfilled, we will have more a stronger motivation to fight for our health and for our life when the going gets tough!

We spoke about how it is only when we are faced with a trauma or a crisis that our coping skills and our resilience are tested.

How do you respond in a crisis? Do you need to develop your own coping ability and your resources?

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