Resilient Therapy and the Resilience Framework
Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, this project builds on work already undertaken on the Resilience Framework, an approach based on Resilient Therapy (RT); the set of ideas and practices originally developed by Professor Angie Hart in collaboration with colleagues and community partners. The Framework takes the resilience research evidence base with other sets of ideas gleaned from parenting children with complex needs and from practice with very disadvantaged children and families in an NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Clinic.
All the different sets of ideas were distilled into a handy RT table that summarises resilience approach and acts as a reminder to people of what is included. This table has been represented in different ways – firstly, as an Resilient Therapy Magic Box of potions and remedies, a toolkit of ideas, then a more detailed RT Summary Table, and later a version of the Resilience Framework that does not use the language of ‘therapy’. The Resilience Framework has been translated into Arabic, Danish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish and Welsh, with more languages on the way. There is also a version of the table for use with adults, which is still a work in progress.
This project, though working with a group of Resilient Therapy users together, aims to support the development of a more refined range of resilient moves suggested in the Resilience Framework. These can then be used by people supporting children with special and complex needs. This detailed exploration will also produce insights into how parents, carers and practitioners draw on and select imagined better futures to choose their resilient moves. It will provide an opportunity to consider the extent to which in making these moves, parents and practitioners are challenging the adversities the children face. Using a collaborative research approach, the co-researchers are parents, carers and practitioners who are already members of Boingboing.
The project commenced in March 2015 and ended in Dec 2017.
The non-prescriptive nature (of the Resilience Framework) is both a strength and a limitation. For example, making school life work as well as possible can be approached in a variety of ways depending on the context and particular needs of the child. Sometimes people need more concrete examples of strategies that could be used, strategies which also recognise power issues which can make it challenging for parents to engage with teachers.
Lindsay Hill, University of Brighton
This project aims to explore in detail how the Resilience Framework helps parents and practitioners who are already familiar with the Framework with thinking and doing resilience-based work.
Data was captured via interview and focus groups. A series of group discussions took place on the emerging data set. Our task is to pinpoint ways people are using ideas from the Resilience Framework in practice. We had fun testing out a new exercise together – all you need is a ball of string, a web of adversities and a pair of scissors to cut the web each time you figure out a way to challenge an adversity – voila!
Project findings and impact
Emerging findings have shown that using the Resilience Framework is beneficial because it:
- enables sharing ideas and understandings, knowledge and experience
- reassures and reaffirms the work we are doing at our own sites
- allows reflection on the bigger picture and how others are using resilience
- explores resilience with others who understand the content and context
- challenges our thinking and ideas because we test it with others in the group
- saves time being all together to share our practice and thinking
- creates a safe environment to share questions and experiences
- allows time for structured reflection.
We also found that the Framework would help us to:
- work with others who do not have any assumed knowledge about resilience
- explore how the detail can be perceived and understood differently
- look at and consider other resilience frameworks and compare them
- have additional opportunities to share questions and experiences
- explore different ways to apply the resilience framework
- discuss quality control to guard against becoming too disparate.