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A guide to self-empowerment designed to help adult children of dysfunctional families free themselves from the past discusses characteristics that allow individuals to cope with trauma and forge a healthy life and explains how to develop such traits. 25,000 first printing.
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This book details the strengths needed to overcome adversity
Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 4/94, by David A. Baptiste
Bravo! Bravo! ... This is an exceptional book. Its message, if internalized can make a difference in the lives of people who painfully need something different. ...
Usually I endorse or recommend very few self-help books to anyone because authors of such books often distill to the point of absurdity some concept culled from the behavioral sciences. However, with this book, I am making an exception. I enthusiastically recommend this book and its message to mental health practitioners and lay persons alike. There is much of substance between its covers; it really is an oasis of hope in a desert of extreme beliefs about overcoming the hardship experienced early in life.....
DESCRIPTION: The Resilient Self: How Survivors of Troubled Families Rise Above Adversity is based on the authors' clinical experience and extensive interviews with survivors of troubled families. Using the material gleaned from these interviews and a growing body of research on resilience, they challenge a traditional view of children which is based on a medical model and which stresses the lasting psychological damage caused by hardship. They call this approach and its bias toward pathology, the Damage Model.
In Part I, the Wolins describe the Damage Model and present a more optimistic alternative they call the Challenge Model. A developmental theory of self, the Challenge Model suggests that while children are hurt by hardship they often develop considerable strength as they struggle to prevail. The Resilient Self identifies seven such strengths: insight, independence, relationships, initiative, creativity, humor, and morality.
Part II demonstrates the emergence of each strength from childhood to adulthood, giving each stage a specific name. The entire scheme constitutes a systematic vocabulary of resilience that has been lacking in the helping professions and research literature until now.
The Resilient Self also (1 views risk research in more reasonable and realistic terms than have been used to date, (2)introduces a new positive therapeutic approach for youth and adults who struggle with adversity, and (3)aims to shift the mindset of helping professionals and the public from a Damage Model to a Challenge Model perspective.
EXCERPT: In the 1980's in this country, The Damage Model seeped down from the professional to our popular culture in a big way. The survivor-as-victim image became the rallying point for a recovery movement ... As the movement has spread its influence, diseases, addictions, and human frailties have occupied the limelight of our awareness, and resilience has fallen into the shadows. ...
How can we restore ourselves to health? How can we escape the pessimism of the Damage Model prediction? What shall we say to our modern day doomsayers who have reworked the ancient prophecy - "The sins of the fathers shall be visited upon the sons" - for popular consumption?
I think we need to hear less about our susceptibility to harm and more about our ability to rebound from adversity when it comes our way.
From Chapter 1: The Challenge of the Troubled Family
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Part I: Pain and Opportunity
Chapter 1 - The Challenge of the Troubled Family
Chapter 2 - To Name the Damage is to Conquer It
Chapter 3 - Reframing: How to Resist the Victim's Trap
Part II: Seven Resiliencies
Chapter 4 - Insight: Forewarned is Forearmed
Chapter 5 - Independence: A Delicate Negotiation
Chapter 6 - Relationships: The Search for Love
Chapter 7 - Initiative: The Pleasure in Problems
Chapter 8 - Creativity: Nothing into Something and Humor: Something into Nothing
Chapter 9 - Morality: Holiness in an Unholy World
Epilogue: The Internal ! Image of a Survivor--One Who Prevails
BACK COVER COPY: "We wrote this book for everyone who grew up in a troubled family, an unknown number of people we call survivors. Our subject is resilience, the capacity to rebound from hardship inflicted early in life. Until, now most information about this topic has been limited to academic books and professional journals. Our purpose is to put what has been learned about resilience in the hands of those who can most benefit from the knowledge - survivors themselves. The news is good. While early hardship can cause enduring pain, also it is often a breeding ground for uncommon strength and courage. If you are a survivor, you probably already know a great deal about the pain. This book is about the strength and courage." From the preface to The Resilient Self
"I salute the authors of this book for their masterful synthesis of research, clinical experience and insights ... The Wolins caution the reader that no one emerges from a troubled family without scars, but it challenges us to find ways in which we can transform pain into joy in our lives." Emmy Werner Ph.D.., author of Vulnerable but Invincible and Overcoming the Odds
"The Resilient Self reminds us all of the importance of being aware of and building on the strengths of our young people, what ever their early experiences. We must work to give them hope and to craft services and programs that are respectful of the resiliencies so fully characterized by the Wolins ... Marian Wright Edelman, president, Children's Defense Fund
"This marvelous book can turn the tide for people injured during their childhoods, not by ignoring the ashes of the past, but by winnowing out the previous elements from which the phoenix can triumphantly rise. It is a book that has been badly needed, and for which many will long be grateful." Timmen L. Cermack, M.D., Former chairman, National Association for Children of Alcoholics
"At last, a compassionate and realistic challenge to abandon t! he idea that one is a passive object of an unhappy childhood. The Resilient Self encourages readers to recognize and appreciate their strong, insightful, and creative survival." Barbara Mathias, author or Between Sisters: Secret Rivals, Intimate Friends
"The Resilient Self shows adult children of dysfunctional families that they can escape a painful past and become resilient survivors. It describes the strategies which have been used successfully by those who grew up in troubled homes but who managed to work well, play well, and love well as adults. I recognized myself in this book with a survivor's pride." Anonymous survivor ENDAbout the Author:
Steven J. Wolin, MD, is clinical professor of psychiatry at the George Washington University Medical School, a longtime researcher in the department's Center for Family Research, and director of family therapy training. He also maintains a private practice in psychiatry and with his wife, Sybil Wolin, founded Project Resilience, a program of consultation, training, and treatment in the Challenge Model.Sybil Wolin, PhD, holds a doctorate in child development. Since 1980, she has been in private practice specializing in children and families experiencing school failure. She has also been the educational consultant to the Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center in Alexandria, Virginia, and has taught English in high school, adult education, and in urban rehabilitation programs. Along with her husband, Steven J. Wolin, she founded Project Resilience, a program of consultation, training, and treatment in the Challenge Model.
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