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Building a Road to Resilience. Strategies for those who respond to crisis: Linda Gaffney, M.S. Staff Counselor WA Department of Corrections. Discussion of Definitions. Crisis Responder Resilience. Evidence-based practice… .

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Building a road to resilience l.jpg

Building a Road to Resilience

Strategies for those who respond to crisis:

Linda Gaffney, M.S.

Staff Counselor

WA Department of Corrections

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Discussion of Definitions

  • Crisis

  • Responder

  • Resilience

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Evidence-based practice…

  • Research on hardiness at University of Chicago, by Salvatore Maddi, Ph.D.

  • American Psychological Association

  • Richard M. K. Tan: volunteer, emergency, and risk management

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Maddi’s original study

Illinois Bell Telephone: 26,000 employees

  • Almost half that workforce was laid off in 1981

  • Research studied 400 staff BEFORE the layoff & followed them for 6 years afterward

  • Staff who remained faced what in those 6 years???

  • What’s your prediction for those who remained?

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Digression discussion

  • How does this relate to community emergencies such as earthquake, flood or massive terror attacks?

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Declines in:



Connectedness to co-workers

Pride in their work

Increases in:

Substance abuse

Extreme stress


Heart attack



2/3 of those studied suffered significant problems:

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of the

Illinois Bell


employees actually thrived!

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Maddi’s 3 key “attitudes” are…

  • Commitment

  • Control

  • Challenges

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Results of Maddi’s 12-year study:

Hardiness enhances…

  • Performance

  • Leadership

  • Conduct

  • Stamina

  • Mood

  • Physical and mental health

  • Courage and capability

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Practical application for responders:

  • Hardiness and resilience can be taught

  • …but can it be learned?

    Discussion: what do you know about people who respond to crisis situations?

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The Road to Resilience

“Take your own pulse first”*

* those who respond to emergencies are notoriously BAD at self-assessment!

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Prepare to be prepared…

  • Resilience and hardiness are not all-or-nothing factors that you either have or don’t have.

  • Your ability to respond fluctuates on a daily, sometimes hourly basis.

  • Know that you won’t get it right every time.

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Digression Discussion need to be ongoing

  • What would you expect to see in a colleague or volunteer who was doing very well at managing the stress of an ongoing crisis?

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I refer you back… was becoming overwhelmed?

  • those who respond to emergencies are notoriously BAD at self-assessment!

    So how will you know when it’s YOU?

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Preparing yourself was becoming overwhelmed?

  • Understand how you experience stress

  • Identify your current sources of stress

  • Identify triggers that produce extra stress

  • Do you have signals that let you know when you’re stressed? What are they?

  • What is your first coping mechanism…

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When you become aware… was becoming overwhelmed?

  • Know who is “safe” to talk about it with

  • Consciously look for balance: remind yourself of meaningful people & events, positive outcomes or encouraging news

  • Take a break from the crisis

  • Respect your own feelings

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Repeating the 3 Keys: was becoming overwhelmed?

  • Commitment

    Leads you to be involved, rather than isolated

    which leads to…

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  • Control was becoming overwhelmed?

    Leads you to work to influence outcomes rather than feel powerless & passive

    which leads to…

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  • Challenge was becoming overwhelmed?

    Leads you to view stressful events & changes as opportunities for new learning and connections

    which leads to…

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Top Ten Ways to Build Resilience was becoming overwhelmed?

  • Make connections

  • Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable

  • Accept change as a part of living

  • Move toward your goals

  • Take decisive actions

  • Look for opportunity for self-discovery

  • Nurture a positive view of yourself

  • Keep things in perspective

  • Maintain hope

  • Take care of your emotions as well as your body

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So, you’re all set was becoming overwhelmed?

to handle any crisis, right?

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Please… was becoming overwhelmed?

Take your own pulse first