When you’re faced with constant resistance, emotional resilience can seem like an incredibly difficult tool to make use of. However, emotional resilience is key to being able to cope with difficult situations, building your ability to bounce back from challenges whilst getting the balance right around managing your own wellbeing. For both you and your clients, building your emotional resilience is a core tool that can be applied to almost every aspect of life.
Developing emotional resilience as a practitioner
“Slow down, it may never happen” is a saying I remember from my school days. I never really understood it back then and it was likely that my nice form teacher was fed up of yelling “stop running” all the time. But maybe he was setting me up to be a better practitioner without either of us really knowing.
If you had to decide what is the hardest bit of the job of being a professional carer on a day-to-day basis, what would it be? Most people will talk about client resistance, especially when it is abundantly clear what they need to do right now and why they will immediately benefit from it. There are so many things that can drain us in our jobs, including clients rejecting support when they are struggling, refusing to acknowledge that they need support with an issue, not addressing a health or acknowledging a problem that is growing by the moment. These all too common situations require emotional resilience on both you and your clients’ behalf. Without this tool, burn-out or poor performance are inevitable.
Recognising your own capacity for emotional resilience can help you progress through these difficult situations, even when it seems as if you’re up against a brick wall. Your emotional resilience will guide you through every walk of life; it’s impossible to leave your work at the office, in the same way it’s difficult to push your home life to one side while you’re working. Building your resources to develop your emotional resilience will have a positive effect on every challenging circumstance or difficult situation you may find yourself in.
Addressing resilience through Motivational Interviewing
Motivational Interviewing (MI) can play a huge role in building emotional resilience as a coping mechanism. A unified bundle of change tools, MI encourages professionals to value and expect resistance by viewing it as evidence that change patterns are being explored by their clients.
For MI, there are only two reasons resistance exists; either you are suggesting the wrong thing for the client, or you are suggesting the right thing at the wrong time. This is why we give clients options instead of railroading them, suggesting the right thing that perhaps requires emotional resilience to deal with. Often, you have the right plan but the client needs more time to process. When you experience resistance step back and talk about other things on the plan, maybe just shoot the breeze or even save that topic for another session. Whatever you choose to do, accept that change is a process and not an event. If you give the client the right options, enough processing time, and work on building their emotional resilience so they can take the changes in their stride, you will get there.
To help clients to move forwards and invest in everyone around them and most importantly in themselves, the key is to make them aware of their emotional resilience. To raise this awareness support them to be aware of their role in their thoughts, feelings and behaviours. A simple tool we can use to restore this self-awareness of emotional resilience is making the client aware that no matter what happens – who does what wrong, who does what right, who is their preferred support and who they prefer to not take support from – they are ultimately responsible for themselves, their choices, actions and managing their thoughts and feelings.
Rehabs use this message as a central plank of rehabilitation, many I have visited do not overtly convey this, and instead demonstrate it through intense therapeutic learning experiences like encounter group therapy. In community services, this kind of therapy is not a treatment option. Because of this, it’s vital that we as practitioners rapidly instil the understanding that regardless of the behaviour of others, you are responsible for you. This key piece of emotional resilience learning is often groundbreaking and revolutionary for some clients who have typically used blame and attack to defend their sense of self. As clients take responsibility for themselves, they also take control of their lives, and can rapidly build self-esteem and emotional resilience as they move from a problem-focused approach to one of seeking solutions and progress.
You are responsible for your own actions. Betterminds’ bespoke tools and techniques work on building your emotional resilience for your own wellbeing, as well as to cascade those tools to your colleagues and clients. Contact us to ensure you can roll with the resistance you’re up against.