Finding Resilience and Recovery


Therapies for Resilience and Recovery.

There are a number of scientific evidence-based psychological therapies (drawn from the third wave of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) that are designed to address barriers to our well-being stemming from stress and emotional distress.

These therapies include Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy and Meta-cognitive Therapy (Hayes and Hofmann 2017).

These therapies can help provide protective factors and resilience for our recovery from the consequences of the negative impacts of stress and emotional distress due to challenging life experiences.

Resilience involves the ability to respond and work flexibly within our thoughts, feelings and behaviours, moving towards positive life goals (Neenan 2018).

However, in the context of stress and emotional distress, the strength of the emotions and the increased emotional arousal we experience can act as barriers to being able to self regulate.

If we can’t self regulate, we may not be able to process new information and respond effectively. We also may not have had positive role models, or been given the opportunities we needed to practise and learn to use the self regulation strategies specific to our individual needs.  We may have been in invalidating environments where when we communicated our private thoughts, feelings and behaviours we were rejected or punished.climb1These are some examples that can negatively impact our ability to be flexible in our thoughts, feelings and behaviour. The therapies on this page target and address these specific types of barriers.

We can apply a socio-ecological model of resilience (Ungar 2008, Ungar 2011). Using this model, resilience is both the capacity of individuals to navigate their way to the psychological, social, cultural, and physical resources that sustain their well-being, and their capacity individually and collectively to negotiate for these resources to be provided in culturally meaningful ways (Resilience Research Centre 2019). The therapies on this page support individuals to successfully navigate these factors for their specific well-being needs.

Stress and emotional distress symptoms can include:

  • Not being able to concentrate
  • Problems sleeping
  • Restlessness
  • Constant worrying
  • Avoiding specific situations
  • Being critical of yourself
  • Having strong emotions that feel overwhelming
  • Not being able to relax or “switch off”
  • Finding it difficult to trust yourself or others
  • Challenges in expressing, regulating and managing your emotionsstrongemotions1
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Hypervigilance
  • Restricting positive life activities due to fears, worries or anxieties
  • Undermining yourself
  • Feeling emotional pain, for example from anguish, distress, embarrassment, fear and shame
  • Feelings of rejection and worthlessness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Negative self-talk
  • Hopelessness

Emergency situations are very stressful and challenging times, and we are likely to experience a range of stress and emotional distress symptoms. It is normal to feel sad, distressed, worried, confused, scared or angry during a crisis. Emergencies are always stressful. We may feel helpless, powerless, lonely and depressed (WHO 2020).

lighthouse2The resources on this site can support us in gaining protective factors and resilience, to help us cope with the negative impacts of stress and emotional distress.

The Well-being Doc is an evidence-based practice site, as all of the resources on this site draw upon the aforementioned evidence-based therapies at the top of this page, as well as from psychology, neuroscience and public health, and include a socio-ecological systems perspective.



Crane, R.2017. Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy. London and New York. Routledge.

Fisher, P. 2009. Metacognitive Therapy. London and New York. Routledge.

Flaxman, P.E., Blackledge, J.T. and Bond, F.W. 2011. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. London and New York. Routledge.

Hayes, S.C. and Hofmann, S.G .2017. The third wave of cognitive behaviour therapy and the rise of processed-based care. World Psychiatry, 16 (3), pp.245-246.

Neenan, M. 2018. Developing Resilience. London and New York. Routledge.

Resilience Research Centre. 2019. What is Resilience? Nova Scotia. Dalhousie University.

Swales, M.A. and Heard, H.L. 2017. Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. London and New York. Routledge.

World Health Organization. 2020. Coping with stress during the 2019-nCov outbreak. Geneva. The World Health Organization.

Ungar, M. 2008. Resilience across cultures. Social Work, 38 (2), pp. 218-235.

Ungar, M. 2011. The social ecology of Resilience. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Vol 81(1), pp. 1-17.