Recent concerns about access to, and the cost of, publically funded psychotherapy highlight the need for ways to empower individuals to work through challenges and locate inner strengths and resources so they might both learn from and grow through them. Psychotherapy is one way; resilience training might be the cost effective alternative we need.

Distress, be it situational, emotional or relational, creates motivation and provides the energy required to drive change. Providing a unique educational space within which to capitalize on distress, by creating the conditions through which deep psychological change can occur, is an effective and efficient way to give individuals the skills, and build the capacity, required for success.

Understood within a wider cultural context, there is a huge need for individuals to access such opportunities. Our population is struggling. Mental illness is now commonly cited to affect 1 in 5 Canadians. I can say with all respect “they are making them faster than we can fix them.”

Resilience is loosely defined as the ability to ‘bounce back’ from stress. The concept is an important one. Initially considered a trait, akin to hardiness, it is now known that resilience is better understood as a capacity – a capacity that can grow. This shift in understanding has profound implications, and introduces a critical opportunity, both in terms of illness treatment/intervention and health promotion programs. These programs teach skills and engage local communities, and they are an effective way to reduce the stigma on mental illness. They help us recognize that we are all responsible for ensuring the health and well being of our loved ones. These types of initiative help to deliver education and care in new ways, and reduce the financial burden on the formal health system.