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Dr. Maria Sirois, Course Instructor
➤ Dates: November 18 – December 20, 2019.
➤ Live sessions: Tuesday evenings from 7–8:30 pm ET. Webinars are recorded for replay.
We all seek resilience—the capacity to navigate difficult or cruel moments in life with adaptive and healthy responses—and it is something we wish for our families, our teams, and our communities. In recent years, the study of resilience has exploded, moving beyond what it looks to bounce back after loss to include a focus on perseverance under chronic or long-term stress; daily, ordinary resilience; and the study of post-traumatic growth (the growth of great resilience even under extreme stress). What we have come to understand is that most of us are resilient much of the time—and we could all use help strengthening our capacity!
This 5-week course is an exploration of the key principles of resilience and post-traumatic growth for individual well-being and for application in the settings most important to you (work, family, partnership, classroom, community). We’ll view it as a quest, an adventurous, meaningful expedition toward a significant goal, and integrate wisdom teachings from story and poetry with the latest research from the field of positive psychology to bring us toward the goal most potent for each of us.
Every life has its challenges. The study of resilience is not just about navigating those challenges present for you right now, but also about mining the gold from the past to prepare you for the threats, missteps, and slung arrows that we cannot predict. It is also, surprisingly and wonderfully, about leveraging the good within you during times of ease so that you move closer to a sense of thriving—right now.
*A special note for those who have studied resilience with Maria in the past: New material is offered in this course addressing the latest science on meaning-making, healthy grit, and self-full living. And you’ll have the opportunity to revisit foundational themes, applying them to the current opportunities in your lives.
Resilience is best both taught and caught, meaning that we can learn the perspectives and tools of resilience and also potentiate the likelihood of resilient living in those we care for and work with each day.
This course is framed through the lens of positive psychology, the study of human beings at their best. We’ll explore the latest research from this field and bring alive the archetypal wisdom found in stories and poetry of those who have chosen a meaningful quest.
Positive psychology concepts and tools explored throughout the course:
|➤ Character and Signature Strengths||➤ Increasing Optimism/Reducing Negativity|
|➤ Connection & Meaningful Support||➤ Healthy Grit|
|➤ Growth vs. Fixed Mindsets||➤ Transforming Stressful Moments into Opportunity|
|➤ The Ideal Resilient Self||➤ Self-Full Living|
|➤ Benefit-Finding||➤ Meaning and Purpose|
➤ Hidden Treasure: We will gather wisdom from our own past experiences of resilience to mine for the gold: those practices and understandings that enabled us to be hardy in the past and will be useful in the present and in future times of upheaval. There is treasure, too, in the life we are already living. Can we notice where and how our energy is elevated? When we feel at ease? Who surrounds us with care and wisdom, and who does not? Any successful journey requires us first to face ourselves and our current way of living, as they are, and bring forward a fierce courage in naming what works and what no longer serves.
➤ The Heroic Stance: What does it mean to be the champion of our own lives? How does taking this stance increase our ability to traverse the dark wood of our days and emerge intact, stronger and wiser? What is post-traumatic growth—great resilience under duress—and how can its principles be applied to daily living? These are the questions we will examine throughout the course. Moving toward resilience means moving away from any part of us that’s attached to a victim or martyr stance, and finding a firmer grip on our own abilities to craft strength, capacity, wisdom, calm, and optimism daily.
➤ Gather the Swords: We’ll gather the tools, perspectives, and practices that elevate our capacity and increase our sense of inner steadiness—even in the harshest moments. We’ll consider how we transform stressful moments into opportunities, increase our capacity to learn from missteps and failures, create realistic hope, and leverage what is already good and strong within us to shape the stance that enables us to be at our best in crisis and on those crappy, dreary Monday mornings.
➤ Light the Lamp: All darkness exists without and within; every moment of suffering, exile, betrayal, or tragedy triggers the murky places inside of us, those of doubt, fear, insecurity, and often, too, the swamp of debris left from past sorrows. To move forward, we must not only clear the path outside of ourselves, but also bring light to the shadows within. Here we will explore the tools that enable us to soften and remove the myths we tell ourselves that do not serve us, transform negative thought habits, and examine how we can see our fragilities as the very ground from which good will grow.
➤ Gather the Gang/Don the Robe: In times of stress, we tend to isolate and to feel shame or embarrassment at not being able to figure it all out perfectly or by ourselves. We tend to cloak ourselves in silence or slogans or false identities. We will consider who truly helps, why the help of others makes a profound difference, and how to see each difficult moment as a moment anew—one in which we can don the robe of the novice in order to be open to greater learning and higher appreciation for ourselves.
➤ The Beckoning Road: The road forward, through the dark wood, beckons. Along this road, we’ll find our best chance of discerning who we are at our best and what that looks like—even as our marriage crumbles or our teen uses drugs or our work world becomes hostile. The Ideal Resilient Self is one we both mine from the past and shape toward the future. It represents the healthiest choices we can make in working with our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and is based on our core values and sense of purpose. It is the self of our most authentic, wisest nature, and is also a self open to new learning and deeper understanding. We end our journey with a compilation of the gems gathered throughout the course and a clear framing of what our Ideal Resilient Self looks like.
Who This Is For
➤ Any adult seeking to increase their ability to navigate change, stress, trauma, or loss with increasing health and wisdom.
➤ For health professionals, coaches, managers, and educators who seek to establish more resilient work environments and uplevel group resilience.
➤ For those curious about thriving in the context of dark times.
Wholebeing Institute uses state-of-the-art, user-friendly webinar technology that allows you to see the faculty via video, watch the slides during the presentation, and participate during the live events, through your computer or your mobile device. Presentation materials and any necessary pre-work or homework will be e-mailed in advance. Live sessions are on Tuesday evenings from 7:00–8:30 pm ET. Recordings will be posted following each session for students who are unable to join live or would like to review the material again.
Schedule and Time Commitment
➤ Participants will be invited to complete pre-work, which may consist of readings, videos, and journal questions. Homework prompts will be given at the end of each session; homework is strongly encouraged but not mandatory. Lessons will be 90 minutes each; pre-work, homework, and recommended readings may take another two to three hours, at most, per week.
➤ Online engagement is also fostered within the discussion forum, where students and faculty connect for questions and conversations about the course material.
➤ Live sessions are on Tuesday evenings from 7:00–8:30 pm ET. The course includes five live webinars, with recordings available for anyone unable to join live.
Continuing Education Credits
7.5 Continuing Education hours are available for social workers, psychologists, therapists, counselors. There is a $40 fee for credits.