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Resilience and Adult Development Essay

The word resilience is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as: “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change”. This in the psychological world still has the same meaning as Bjorklund states: “resilience is the maintenance of healthy functioning following exposure to trauma”. In dealing with life and adult development we are either going to become more resilient or breakdown. It is my belief that the more a person goes through and is tested in life it will determine whether they will breakdown or become a more resilient person.

My research has determined that faith and spirituality will help a person become resilient in life. I find great value in the ability to help persons find the meaning to their stressful situations. When we usually think of the word value we tend to think on monetary terms. However, there are something’s that are worth more than money. I believe that being able to help people identify, realize, and find fact the root of their stress and then help them with tools to decrease their stress level is something that money cannot hold value over. I am essentially changing someone’s life for the better.

I say that because when a person can reduce their stressful situations they are more likely to be positive. Alternately, if they cannot reduce their stress level they will have to either adapt or let the stress consume them. When the stress level is able to be adapted to the person’s lifestyle then it is considered that the person is becoming resilient. If the person cannot handle the stress they can have a breakdown that can lead to many issues ranging from depression and on. As I stated in my Abstract paragraph, the word resilience is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as: “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change”.

This in the psychological world still has the same meaning as Bjorklund states: “resilience is the maintenance of healthy functioning following exposure to trauma”. In saying that, if we are dealing with a client who is in stressful experiences and we assist them in finding meaning for that stress; we in turn give them the strength and ability to become resilient. They will not only learn how to manage a stressful event but they will also welcome more challenging events with skills that will not break them as previous experiences have done.

Stress is defined as a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation (Bjorklund, 2011). Stress affects humans on different levels and there are many different ways that humans cope with stress. Some adults use a support group of friends or family members that they speak with to work through stress. Another coping mechanism that is also used is when adults choose to fix the problem or the stress itself taking on a role to control the stress personally.

While these are only a few of some coping strategies I chose to focus on these two as they are two ways that I also deal with stress in my own life. When I am stressed about school, work, or relationship problems I find that talking to my friends or mom helps me see things clearer than before. When I am doing this, it is referred to in the book as a coping behavior (Bjorklund, 2011). In thinking of one’s development of their intellect and personality as an adult; I believe that each person’s experiences will help to shape who they will be when they reach this age of development.

From the readings, we discover that biological and environmental components are mainly what influence our intellect and personality. The biological factors include personal traits and genetics (Bjorklund, 2011, p. 250) while the environmental factors are from a single person’s family history and social structure. As someone who has worked with adults with mental disabilities for over eight years now; I immediately thought of genetic deficiencies as a possible interference of this development in the biological sense.

If someone has a genetic disease at birth then that can shape how their childhood and teenage years will be which will influence how they develop their intellect and personality as an adult. If someone is born with the genetic disorder of Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome, they are born with very distinctive facial features, a small head size(microcephaly), intellectual disabilities, and behavioral problems. After going through Erikson’s stages of development, by the time they reach adulthood they may have a very biased view of the world based on if their experiences environmentally were positive or negative.

If they were positive then we can expect that this person even with their disabilities will be positive or vice versa. In regards to how the development of one’s intellect and personality can be enhanced I believe that where biological factors may fail; environmental factors can succeed. If I have the above mentioned disorder but throughout my life my environmental factors have been only positive I may have an enhanced view of the world in a positive light and my personality and intellect would reflect that through the way I treated others and how I lived my life.

As a psychologist, working with clients I think that this could affect them in both positive and negative ways. If you have both negative biological and environmental factors then you are more likely to present a negative personality as would a all positive personality would have had positive factors. I think that in working with the clients in regards to treatment if nothing but negative traits are presented then the psychologist would see issues of highly negative and possibly aggressive behavior. This would be one of the major issues I could see that the client could possibly be a danger to himself or others.

I believe that when working with clients it is in our best interest to lead by example. If I am working with a client and I feel that reading a book is something that the client should do to assist a behavior but I cannot provide a book title I am not being of any help. I believe that some of my ethical impacts such as being honest, respectful, hard-working, provide support, allow me to give the client the most positive model to value and deal with a new person about. The clients will be able to notice my beliefs and will be intrigued by it.

This could lead to the client wanting to enter a more positive lifestyle for their own personal gain to assist with their own understanding of what they deem ethical. When thinking of the type of experiences that being resilient is needed I automatically think of death. Death can leave a large gap in a person’s life. Death depending on the adult and their culture can be seen as either highly positive or something to be seen as saddening. While death is a major player in what we experience as a loss, there are other losses that we encounter as adults. For some the loss of their youth could be seen as a stressful time.

Some people cannot cope with the feelings of getting older. If a person can learn to cope with things like death and other losses then they will be able to become more resilient. Things that would be a difficult issue when working with clients in this arena would be loss of a parent. As someone who lost their father through a gruesome murder it would be hard for me at first to push my own feelings aside to assist them with their feelings of loss. While I know this area would be difficult I know I would be able to assist them because I was brave enough to get counseling when I lost my father.

By admitting that I needed help I gave myself the opportunity to get skills to become the resilient person I am today. Due to that new found resilience I was able to deal with other loss such as loss of jobs. I have lost jobs in this economy and I could be a sounding board for others to let them know that it does get better and I could provide them with resources for assistance. There was a weekly discussion that we talked about in this class about time and how it relates to development I found that discussion to be one of the discussions that plays apart in how we become resilient as well.

For example, my physical features from 6 to 16 showed major changes as did my features from 16 to 27. I say that to emphasize that change is inevitable no matter how we try to push it off. Ultimately time is the one thing we cannot dominate. Aging is a natural process. As I stated before the differences I have seen in myself from these ages are quite different and these changes have affected me in positive and negative ways. For example, at age 6 I was a young, energetic, and full of life kid with pigtails and missing teeth.

I was not yet at puberty but could see changes in myself. I went up in shoe sizes which made me sad because I had to give away my favorite pair of LA Gear light up sneakers (negative effect), but I got my first pair of Jordan’s (positive effect). As we age, over time our body continues to age and change accordingly. At 16, I had entered adolescence and with that came menstrual cycles, breasts, and braces. I considered all of these as negatives because I was a dancer on my high school’s dance team and extra attention was not something I desired.

However, something else I learned at 16 was that doing daring stunts like I did as a child could weigh heavily on me now as a teenager. My bones were not as strong as when I was younger and I ended up breaking my foot. Now at age 27 I wouldn’t dare attempt all of the dance moves that I did in ballet as I have so many aches and pains all signs of the body wearing down or aging. I said all of that to give a personal experience of how we age and now as I near 30 I know that bones break easily, and we are prone to more diseases just from father time continuing to tick.

Our book states that a question was posed if primary aging could be stopped by turning back the clock (Bjorklund, 2011). Father time would easily say no. In regards to a professional such as a psychologist; working with patients and knowing the aging process would give the psychologists the ability to not only understand where the person is in their life cycle but also prepare them for their next phase. If a psychologist is working with a 25 year old who is on top of the world and loving life but is afraid of entering their 30’s.

The psychologist would be able to explain how the next stage would play out and how there may be some physical changes that may develop but they are simply due to the body adjusting to its new limits. The biggest surprise in the reading was the aging process being affected by our socioeconomic status. If this is true that would mean that lower class persons are sicker, thinner, and more ill than those in richer classes and those monetary values can equate to the value of our aging process and how well it goes.

The time and resilient factors are parallel to me in how we develop as adults. It is through our experiences and through time that we learn from our life changes. While one may say that the longer we continue to hide away from things the easier it is to deal. In actuality, by not dealing with issues we are putting more stress in our life that can affect us in negative ways and minimize our chances of becoming more resilient by dealing with our issues head on.


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