Resilient individuals resemble a twig with a fresh, green living core. When twisted out of shape, such a twig bends, but it does not break; instead, it springs back and continues growing – George VaillantAs I publish this (April 2020) the current Coronavirus pandemic has been a setback for all of us in various degrees, some worse than others. Hence, I would encourage you to listen to this episode and share with someone who could use it. My guest is Dr. Steven M. Southwick, who along with Dennis Charney are the co-authors of Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges. The book summarizes research into the psychological, biological, and social impact of trauma, and it combines the latest scientific findings in the area of resilience drawing on two decades of work with trauma survivors Steven completed his psychiatry residency at Yale University School of Medicine. He is the Glenn H. Greenberg Professor of Psychiatry, PTSD and Resilience at Yale University Medical School and Yale Child Study Center. He is also the Medical Director of the Clinical Neuroscience of the Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD. Steven has worked with a wide range of trauma survivors including combat veterans, civilian children and adults with PTSD, and very high functioning, former prisoners of war.
So to me, one of, if not the most important factors is to have a squad, to have a group of individuals who you really care about, who you know, at least one or two who you know will come to your aid no matter what, and for who to whom you will go as well. Because the data on how social connectedness from a neuro-biological and a psychological standpoint enhances resilience is extremely compelling – Steven SouthwickThere is a bit of irony in this episode based on the times we are living through in 2020. One, is my warning to those who were having an easy time of life that challenge would come so prepare now. The other is Steven’s admonition for social connection. Harder now as we are all social distancing but even more important due to the stress many are going through. Hello Zoom. We also cover these topics on this episode
- His research into resilience and PTSD
- What led him to write the book
- How the brain may work against you in traumatic or challenging circumstances.
- Why and how each of us differ in our responses to stress
- The resilience factors
- Passive and active “toughening”
- Trauma and growth
- What survivors do to successfully cope with extreme circumstances.
- Active toughening and the importance of recovery
- Social pain and the importance of social networks.
- The “bleed” effect of exercise on emotion
- The power of “squads”
- What he asks someone who is suffering when they first come to him for help