What is the Resilience Project?
Sometimes the obstacle to your path, is your path
The Resilience Project was created by Chris in 2017 as a sister initiative to his hypnotherapy practice. His aim was to improve access, and reduce the barriers to participation in evidence-based mental health practices in his local community, and also to colleagues and clients who may not be within easy travel distance of his Brighton practice.
At its core, it is based on the principles and techniques of CBT, mindfulness and third wave therapies such as ACT, coupled with evidence-based stress management knowledge and tools (and perhaps a little influence from the resilience-building strategies gained from Chris's martial arts practice). It is however important to note that the Resilience Project is not a new method or technique, rather it is an effort to provide greater flexibility and opportunities in the way in which our existing tools can be practiced.
What is resilience?
The concept of emotional or mental 'resilience' continues to gain rightful attention as a means of allowing us to be better prepared for the challenges we all face. Sometimes simply defined in words to the effect of 'the ability to bounce back from adversity', we at the Resilience Project feel this definition can be insufficient, as it can neglect the fact that challenge is a constant in all our lives, and we can often be changed by the experience of it.
For example, it may not actually be helpful or optimal to stay the same, or maintain old habits following a period of challenge or hardship, and sometimes adaptation and change is necessary. Resilience therefore includes the use of coping strategies, processes and behaviours that help to protect us from the potential negative effects of stressors, which can occur in many forms.
It is important to note that 'coping' in this context does not mean just learning to 'put up with it' rather it reflects the skills necessary to endure, but also adapt, overcome where possible and accept where not, and still live a valued and happy life. If we were therefore to try and summarise resilience, we might instead prefer to think of it as something more along the lines of:
'the ability to continue to find joy, meaning and purpose in our lives, despite the presence of adversity'
Although we admit that this does not flow off the tongue quite as easily!
A key concept applied throughout our therapeutic approach is that of skills training: this is the idea that the more you practice a skill or activity, such as hypnosis, relaxation or mindfulness etc., the better you will get at them. With that in mind, we wanted to provide those same beneficial skills, pre-emptively, so that we can help ourselves, often before these problems or 'sticking points' can develop.
Of course, we continue to provide and strongly support the necessity of face-to-face individual therapy and coaching. However we equally believe that more people can and should benefit from our approach when this is also provided through alternative means of delivery such as, but definitely not limited to, the following:
Online coaching (individual and group)
Peer support groups
Work-based training seminars and workshops
Prevention, 'prehabilitation' and treatment
Chris's experience as an athlete as well as a trainer, has meant he has spent more than a fair amount of time with his doctors and physiotherapists fixing various sports injuries! Through these treatments he became aware of the concept and use of both rehabilitation and 'prehabilitation', or the prevention of future injury. He found that this served as a really useful analogy to the approach he was looking to take with his therapy and coaching practice.
So for example, following an acute injury like a sprained ankle, you may be prescribed a series of strengthening exercises, which you would complete as homework in addition to the immediate treatment of that injury. Following this initial treatment phase, you may then be provided with an ongoing training plan to help in overall strengthening and conditioning, which is trying to prevent such injuries occurring in the future.
The Resilience Project aims to work in the same way by providing the tools and techniques you need in order to:
Help prevent mental health concerns arising;
Help minimise their impact and disruption where they do occur; as well as
Help you to address those issues that are already experiencing.
We can provide you with the tools, techniques and strategies needed to achieve your resilience goals, and if you prefer, also provide you with the direct coaching to help you with your motivation, scheduling and getting through any 'sticking points' or troubleshooting.
The techniques we offer will mirror those offered in our CBH therapy and can therefore include:
Mindfulness and acceptance-based approaches
Problem solving therapy
Mental rehearsal, visualisation and exposure
Stress Inoculation Training and systematic desensitisation
Values assessment and values-based living
Challenging negative beliefs (or 'cognitive disputation')
Assertiveness and authenticity training
COVID 19 UPDATE: We have now returned to offering our services through both face-to-face and online methods. We do however continue to monitor the public health situation constantly. Lock down restrictions have showed us that our approach can be just as effective when delivered only through online means and so we remain very happy to offer this to our clients if they prefer this approach.
"I wasn't too keen on the idea of attending therapy, but was interested in the group [approach]. It is helpful to know that everyone struggles sometimes, and I have learnt some very useful techniques I can use in all the areas of my life..."
A, IT Consultant, Brighton