Courtney Kidd LCSW

Courtney Kidd LCSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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Our Inability To Cope: Where Has The Resilency Gone?

I have stumbled across multiple articles recently dealing with the increasing need for psychological evaluation relating to coping skills and resiliency.   Honestly, nothing could excite me more since trauma happens to be my area of interest. Working with the military, one expects a level of trauma for most of our clients, but it is only just becoming common to see many trauma-related effects in non-military populations.  One of the articles I read dealt with the concentration of PTSD related conditions for those who grow up in central Philly.  The high crime, constant threat of violence and poor positive social structure has actually caused entire generations of residents to suffer various effects of PTSD.  


The other article I came across spoke about the need for coping skills.  More often than not we train ourselves and others, not to deal effectively and appropriately with  our emotions(positive or negative) but to tune them out.  Stressful day at work? Have a drink.  Relationship issues? Pop on the TV and watch some mindless reality show. What this is doing is leaving a vulnerability for those who do not develop adequate skills.  


A previous article on our site discussed how everything in our lives boils down to the need of safety.  It is our hierarchy of needs at the very core, if we are not safe, then we cannot hope to move past attempting to fulfill that need.  Resiliency is in a sense, a safety mechanism.  It allows us to get through even traumatic events without disrupting the very fabric of who we are and how we live our lives.  If we cannot cope effectively, we cannot hope to build up this resiliency.   


Take a look back to a stressful time in your life.  It could be any cause, any length of time and any severity.  If you hadn’t had other periods when you had to overcome a stressor, it would be difficult to see how you might survive through another one.  That experience builds.  Those people who seem to be able to handle any situation aren’t born that way, they learn through their actions, that there will be resolution. If we don’t start building those skills again we are going to face untold amount of issues with those who have never learned that skill.  I emphasize skill because it is learned and can be taught.  It is not a trait that arbitrarily assigns itself to certain people.  There are those who are more naturally inclined towards resiliency but it is not an all-or-nothing event.


We live stressful lives. There are family, friends, relationships, jobs, school and countless other things that pull you in every direction on the very best of days.  Then there are the situations that aren’t included in the best of days; sickness, death, loss, anger, set-backs, etc.  Things that you knew were coming and unexpected surprises that suddenly appear. We must teach others to learn to stand through those times as well.  Trauma is not a vacuum, it does not just occur in war-zones, it happens all around us. We must learn how to deal.


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  1. Brittany October 2, 2012
  2. Matthew Cohen, MSW Matthew Cohen SWI October 3, 2012

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