When someone considers an expatriate assignment and elects to receive counseling as part of the training process, what type of things might they learn about during the process?
One area worth exploring is psychological resilience, and that is the focus of a short article series on ExpatExchange.com.
Resilience is one of those topics in counseling that can be fun to consider, especially for those that do not currently need it. Some people like to think about how well they would be able to weather tough times. How well would you do in a tough situation?
First, as part of the counseling process, we would define exactly what resilience is. Most think of it quite simply as the ability to bounce back after some type of hardship. In pyschology, it does go a bit further than that.
Someone would be said to be "resilient" if they are able to do well despite significant risk factors or threats to their ability to adapt to a given situation, or to develop normally.
The question then becomes "how do we know if someone is likely to be resilient?"
By looking at past populations of people that were at risk but managed to do well anyway. Some of these groups include those raised during the Great Depression, various groups of indigent immigrants and their children, and those exposed to warfare and other hardships. What can we learn from these groups? Here are just a few qualities to consider - how do you rate yourself?
1.) Can you find positive meaning in difficult situations?
2.) Do you have a sense that you connect with colleagues, family and friends in a way that is meaningful?
3.) Do you cope well with stress?
4.) Can you talk to people about your problems as you encouter them?
5.) Do you feel as if you have the capacity to control your thoughts and feelings?
Each of the above topics will be the subject of another short article. In the interim, take some time to explore them in relation to your own personal experiences.