Robert J. Ackerman, Ph.D.

Resilience is the ability to thrive despite adversity and enables people of all ages and backgrounds to lead healthy and fulfilling lives despite formidable obstacles. Can resiliency be taught? This workshop will focus on the development of resiliency and achievement skills for high-risk youth as well as the role of protective factors in children's lives. The application of these skills and factors can help to foster the emergence of resiliency. Additionally, this workshop will address why high-risk youth from dysfunctional families are not all the same and why some youth from dysfunctional families/trauma have emerged as healthy and resilient while others continue to struggle. Techniques for developing resiliency skills and behaviors will be presented as well as developing an appreciation for gender issues in treatment.

Goals and Objectives

By the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to:

  1. identify factors to explain why youth from dysfunctional families/trauma are affected differently;
  2. identify protective factors necessary to overcome childhood trauma;
  3. discuss the most common behaviors and attitudes found in resilient youth;
  4. describe techniques for helping to develop resilience skills in high-risk youth.

Presentation Outline

  1. Assessing the Need for Resiliency
    1. Adaptation to trauma
    2. Outcomes of trauma
  2. Developing Youth Resiliency Skills
    1. Assessing existing protective factors
    2. Impediments to change
    3. Identifying resiliency characteristics
    4. Developing a plan to achieve resiliency
  3. Assessing and Maintaining Growth
    1. Identifying common indicators to assess self-growth
    2. Avoiding emotional relapse
    3. Concentrating on Achievement Skills