Resiliency In A Broken World

Finding Resiliency In A Broken World

By Janet Siry, LCSW
March 1, 2020

The world in which we live can sometimes seem chaotic and hopeless. In our daily life, there are so many stressors that invade our sense of peace and serenity. At times, it seems that life is too overwhelming to achieve our dreams. The efforts we make to change our circumstances seem futile. We feel alone and abandoned by the attitudes and values of those we are close to and by those of society at large. 

It is tempting to believe that no one else can understand the desolation we feel. These thoughts, left unchecked, may lead to feelings of depression, anxiety and may result in suicide. Suicide is often an impulsive decision that provides temporary relief in that moment but leaves behind a wake of destruction and trauma for those left behind. If only there was a way to prevent individuals from going down a path of self-destruction.

Dr. Bessel van der Kolk (van der Kolk, B.A., 2014; The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma; Viking) is a world renowned expert on the long term impact of traumatic experiences upon the individual, family and communities we interface with. In his book, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma, Dr. van der Kolk provides evidence that if we experience traumatic stressors at any time during our lifespan, the psychological and physical damage imprints to our primitive brain. If a person denies or ignores the depth of the damage done to our psyche, we impede progress in our healing. Unless these circumstances are revealed through the therapeutic process, our healing may be limited or not be able to occur at all.

Currently, there is a belief among clinicians (Southwick, S.M., Bonanno, G.A., Masten, A. S., Panter-Brick, C., & Yehuda, R., 2014; Resilience definitions, theory, and challenges: interdisciplinary perspectives. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 5, 10.3402/ ejpt.v5.25338) that developing appropriate skills to encourage resiliency among individuals and groups may provide a means to rebuild hope in the aftermath of potentially life-threatening traumatic experiences. Our churches have a unique potential to engage in healing through the power of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Through individual and church wide ministries, we plant seeds of hope to nourish body, mind and spirt. These seeds may grow to provide healthy connections to support diversity in our world. When we share our vulnerabilities, our shared experiences may provide a source of connection and strength to prevent and heal traumas before tragedy occurs.  There are natural strengths inherent in our cultures when we share selflessly with one another.

I have cared for you since you were born. Yes, I carried you before you were born. I will be your God throughout your lifetime-until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you”                                                   Isaiah 46:4 NLT


Janet Siry, LCSW, has a MSW from Fordham University and a BS in Elementary Education from Valparaiso University. She has had extensive experience working with children, teens, couples and families. She was awarded the Woman of the Year in Religion in 2005. Janet counsels at LCC’s Patchogue site.  



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