Resilient adults: overcoming a cruel past

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Jossey-Bass, Aug 16, 1994 - Family & Relationships - 373 pages
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What is it that makes some people resilient enough to overcome devastating trauma? What separates them from those who are understandably broken by such events? Most important, how can we foster this strength in ourselves and in others? Gina O'Connell Higgins draws on her twenty-year career devoted to the study of resilience to provide insight into these and other key questions. Through both grim and joyous profiles, Higgins describes people who had brutal childhoods, who suffered violence at the hands of a parent, who were raped, abused, and abandoned, and yet who created lives of hope and happiness. Included are moving portraits of people such as a psychiatrist, happily married for twenty-eight years, who as a child was the victim of a satanic cult and was forced to become a prostitute, and a son who, though ferociously beaten by his father and sexually abused by his mother, grew up to become the director of a human service agency. Offering an approach that focuses on the origins of mental health rather than the beginnings of mental illness, Resilient Adults outlines how men and women can recognize the resilient traits they possess and appreciate what has gone right with their lives. Higgins's studies reveal many of the characteristics that resilient individuals have in common. For example, the author has found that these men and women tend to fiercely protect their time for reflection, to approach potential problems proactively, and to believe firmly that if they take charge and put forth the effort, their lives will improve. On the basis of her findings, she provides a wealth of information about how these characteristics can be cultivated and how resilience can be fostered in adultsdespite their background or personal history.

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Contents

The Challenge of Resilience
1
Shibvon and Dan
25
A Developmental Approach
65
Copyright

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About the author (1994)

GINA O'CONNELL HIGGINS is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Salem, Massachussets. She is an instructor at Harvard Medical School and a staff psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.