Resilience The Basics
Boris Cyrulnik is a neuropsychiatrist and director of studies at the University of Toulon. He is the author of many immensely successful works, notably Un merveilleux malheur, Les Vilains Petits Canards, Parler d’amour au bord du gouffre, Autobiographie d’un épouvantail and, recently, Je me souviens and Mourir de dire.
When a new concept emerges in a culture, its influence is felt by its prevalence in dealing with problems as they arise. Formerly, after suffering trauma, logic dictated that we anticipate the after-shocks; but now we must also bear in mind the conditions that will enable recovery and renewed development. This is what is known as resilience.
What are the internal and external conditions that facilitate or hinder the process of resilience? The study of this neo-developmental process must be multidisciplinary. The neurosciences photograph and measure the biological markers of neuronal resilience. Ethological observations analyse the behaviour of preverbal children, or of older children who have lost the use of language, and they identify the forms of attachment that facilitate or hinder human relations. Psychologists assess the development of intersubjectivity. Psychoanalysts help reshape mental structures. Family therapists describe families that reassure members that have been hurt or, on the contrary, plunge with them into pain and suffering. Sociologists show that evolving recoveries are dependent on institutional structures. Linguists and artists explain the significance of group narratives that surround the trauma victim, and which, in some cultures, hinder the process of resilience — when it is perfectly possible to turn such narratives into tools of an evolving recovery.
• This book shows how, by modifying educational and therapeutic practices, these various disciplines can combine to enable us to face traumatic pain.