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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

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
Discussion of Definitions
  • Crisis
  • Responder
  • Resilience
evidence based practice
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
maddi s original study
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?
digression discussion
Digression discussion
  • How does this relate to community emergencies such as earthquake, flood or massive terror attacks?
2 3 of those studied suffered significant problems
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:


of the

Illinois Bell


employees actually thrived!

maddi s 3 key attitudes are
Maddi’s 3 key “attitudes” are…
  • Commitment
  • Control
  • Challenges
results of maddi s 12 year study
Results of Maddi’s 12-year study:

Hardiness enhances…

  • Performance
  • Leadership
  • Conduct
  • Stamina
  • Mood
  • Physical and mental health
  • Courage and capability
practical application for responders
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?

the road to resilience
The Road to Resilience

“Take your own pulse first”*

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

prepare to be prepared
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.
Stress is cumulative—so your stress reduction strategies need to be ongoing
  • Know that even ongoing stress reduction strategies will break down at times
  • Know your individual “stress triggers”
digression discussion14
Digression Discussion
  • What would you expect to see in a colleague or volunteer who was doing very well at managing the stress of an ongoing crisis?
i refer you back
I refer you back…
  • those who respond to emergencies are notoriously BAD at self-assessment!

So how will you know when it’s YOU?

preparing yourself
Preparing yourself
  • 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…
when you become aware
When you become aware…
  • 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
Increase healthy behaviors while decreasing unhealthy ones
  • Respect your sleep needs
  • Help others find a way to give assistance

Discussion: if you have recently experienced…

repeating the 3 keys
Repeating the 3 Keys:
  • Commitment

Leads you to be involved, rather than isolated

which leads to…


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

which leads to…


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

which leads to…

top ten ways to build resilience
Top Ten Ways to Build Resilience
  • 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
So, you’re all set

to handle any crisis, right?


Take your own pulse first