Cultivating Resilience


This blog was written by Jane Sanders from
There’s been an explosion of neuroscience information into the therapy world over the last 10 years and one of the gifts has been the strong evidence base for neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to rewire and grow new pathways.
We kind of knew it anyway as therapists, e.g. watching long term clients grow their ability to form healthy attachments, or calming hypervigilant nervous systems. But the elegant way researchers have shown us the nuts and bolts of how that happens, is truly remarkable.
What motivates us to become therapists? Of course it’s complex, but putting to one side all the unconscious learned caretaking we might have picked up as children, somewhere in the mix is the hope that transformative change is possible, that us humans can grow and flourish in new ways.
This is where resilience skills training can be useful. It is early spring as I write this and one of the first things I have done this year is order some seeds for my veggie patch, and started preparing the ground by feeding the soil with a good layer of compost. For me, the metaphor of cultivating a garden helps me understand how I can also tend the ground of my being, nurturing resilience, making good choices, remembering to balance care for others with self-care, working holistically with my whole ecosystem.

I also know there will be challenges ahead. I’ve already noticed a couple of very fat pigeons & juicy slugs who I am sure will delight in decimating some of my crops. Resilience skills help us deal with the challenges as well as savouring those easeful flowing times when everything works well.
Can resilience be learned? Yes! There is a strong evidence base for this. Chris Johnstone’s new book Seven Ways To Build Resilience is the culmination of many years of immersing himself in this subject.  Out on April 18th it offers a very readable and engaging exploration.
I’m excited to be collaborating with Chris on our Resilience for Counsellors and Psychotherapists online course – both from a self-care point of view and also in offering insights and processes which can inform client work.
Our seven module online course starts on May 2nd  (see our video) but you can access a free taster course from April 11th which includes a free webinar on April 18th.