Counselling Chronicle (8)
The CPR of Resilience – Lessons from Andrew Fuller
In March both Chevalier College counsellors had the opportunity to attend a professional development seminar conducted by Andrew Fuller, a highly-regarded and well-published Australian child clinical psychologist. Andrew’s seminar was based on the research he has conducted regarding resilience in childhood. Andrew has identified three factors that help an adolescent to thrive – the CPR model.
Adolescents need to feel a sense of connection to themselves, and to others. Andrew argues that for adolescents to feel connected to themselves, they need to develop an understanding of the following:
- Their strengths and qualities, and the confidence to be themselves.
- Their thoughts: the differences between helpful and unhelpful thinking styles, and a commitment to engage in more helpful thinking, even in times of difficulty.
- Their emotions: emotions come and go, hence the name e-motion. Emotions only become problematic when we get stuck trying to avoid them or feel shame around them.
Andrew argues that for adolescents to feel connected to other people, they need to develop an understanding of the following:
- Friendship is a choice – not everyone gets to be friends with you, and you don’t get to be friends with everyone. Stick with the people you value and who value you.
- Practice gratitude. Research has shown gratitude to be one of the largest contributors to happiness; the positive effects of gratitude are increased when you tell other people what you are grateful for.
Adolescents experience the greatest sense of belonging when they have
1) a sense of being part of a family,
2) have different friendships to belong to,
3) have a trusted adult outside of their family who connects with them, e.g. a teacher, music tutor, family friend.
Andrew cites research that has found that happiness is very closely connected to the health of our relationships. Successful relationships involve trust, forgiveness, integrity, hope and compassion. A calm, consistent and protected family zone is the area in which children and adolescents develop skills and learn emotional regulation. Children learn these skills by observing others, most notably, their parents.
Adolescents will thrive in an environment where they are appreciated and respected as individuals. Clearly defined limits and consequences will help them safely learn the skills needed to develop into fully-functioning adults.