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Welcome to our resilience academy, here you will find a wealth of information on everything and anything to do with resilience.

My obsession with resilience started 17 years ago whilst working as a Forensic Psychologist in prisons all over London and Kent. Back then there was not a great deal of research into resilience with adults.

Today there is a growing body of research dedicated to the application and research of resilience in our everyday life. And I would like to share some of the research with you.

Perhaps you would like to find out how high your everyday resilience is, if so take our Resilience questionnaire, it should only take 5 minutes of your time.

If you are really curious about resilience and have any more questions, then Dr Smith will be more than happy to get back to you. Thanks for stopping by.

Dr. Angela Smith

  • The 4 Phases of Resilience™
  • Discover Your Everyday Resilience Level
  • Resilience Definitions
  • The 4 Phases of Resilience™ Case Studies
  • The 7 Skills/Resilience Inventory
  • University of Pennsylvania, USA
  • University of Nottingham, UK
  • Questionnaires on Post Adversity Growth
  • Additional Research

The 4 Phases of Resilience™


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4 Phases of Resilience Infographic

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4 Phases of Resilience in Everyday Life

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The 4 Phases of Resilience™ model is our paradigm for Everyday Resilience. When adversity first hits our resilience immediately declines. This is a biological and evolutionary reaction to adversity. Phase 1 is Survival, where we experience biological, body related sensations from the stress caused by the adversity. Phase 2 is Adaptation, where we begin to rewire our brains by learning new skills and taking some responsibility. Phase 3 is Recovery, where we continue brain changing efforts by practicing new habits, learning better social skills and working with the reality of the situation rather than the hurt or injustice the adversity caused us. Empathy is a critical distinguisher in this phase, which we refer to as a Resilience Point, where our path of resilience directs more upward toward Phase 4 Growth with more empathy, and downward toward Phase 1 Survival with lower levels of empathy. In Growth we are thriving and flourishing through mindfulness. Because we have successfully rewired our brains from the experience of adversity we have the ability to understand a deeper perspective and awareness of the lessons the adversity has helped us to gain. The 4 Phases of Resilience™ model is an adaptation from an earlier research model provided by Patterson, Goens and Reed (2009) (Smith, 2013)

Discover Your Everyday Resilience Level

Take five minutes to learn about your Everyday Resilience. Complete our 14-question resilience tool to see where you are in resilience.
Please Click Here to Start

Resilience Definitions

There are many different perspectives on resilience that are drawn from various fields. Below are a few broad definitions of resilience.

“Resilience is the ability to adapt to challenging situations, plus or minus growth.”
(Smith, 2012).
“A particular pattern of attitudes and skills that helps you to be resilient by surviving and thriving under stress.”
(Maddi & Khoshbaba, 2005).
“The process of coping with adversity, change, or opportunity in a manner that result in the identification, fortification, and enrichment of resilient qualities.”
(Richardson, 2002)
“Positive adaptation to adversity, despite serious threats to adaptation or development.”
(Masten, 2001)

A general consensus would reveal resilience is the ability to:

  • Bounce back: This involves the ability to overcome set-backs/ adversity when experiencing acute stress and trauma.
  • Enduring adversity: based on the idea that, “Whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” (Nietzsche). Individuals who endure adversity and overcome it are able to develop their resilience (Maddi & Khoshaba, 1984, 2005) (Joseph 2013)

It is believed that resilience is not purely an innate set of characteristics. In other words, resilience is not simply something we are born with. Resilience is developed over a period of time through the process of rupture and repair. Resilience is an inside-out approach, meaning everything we need to increase our resilience is already within us. (Smith 2012)

The 4 Phases of Resilience™ Case Studies

Excellence in Resilience study 1 (Abstract)
This study assessed the effectiveness of Excellence in Resilience’s training programme and the impact this had on 15 managers from a corporate environment. In this experiment perceptions on stress and resilience levels were analysed. Pre and post intervention measures were used with a prepared and validated stress and resilience questionnaire devised by Excellence in Resilience, Ltd.

The findings revealed significant and positive alterations to mangers’ perceptions of stress. The findings suggested managers were able to more positively manage stressful situations. In addition, participant’s resilience levels significantly increased, indicating the programme was effective in inducing change. This experiment effectively validated the Excellence in Resilience, Ltd training programme, indicating the measures used were effective tools in changing a manager’s ability to cope with stressful situations by increasing personal resilience. (Mohsen, 2012)

Excellence in Resilience study 2 (Abstract)
This study examined the effects of the Excellence in Resilience training programme and the impact on employee perception on stress, resilience, and overall quality of life. A sample of 65 participants were recruited for the study, including 15 in the experimental group (recruited from a range of private sector organisations) and 50 in the control group (inclusion criteria requested participants worked full or part time). Both groups were given identical questionnaires over a two month period.

As predicted, resilience proved effective in positively altering participants’ perceptions on stress, quality of life and overall resilience levels. This provides empirical support substantiating that resilience training is an effective intervention strategy. (Mohsen, 2013)

The 7 Skills/Resilience Inventory

The Hay Group: The Resilience Inventory.
Retrieve from

The resilience ingredient list (Smith, Mohsen 2013) Resilience is not all or nothing but depends on many factors, such as environment, life stressors and physical health. It may be we are more resilient in some situations than others. However no matter how resilient you may be, there is no such thing as being too resilient. Developing your everyday resilience is such an important way of helping us manage our everyday lives at work and home. Below you will see 7 key areas of resilience first identified by Dr Karen Reivich and Dr Andrew Shatte of Adaptiv Learning Systems as the Resilience Factor Inventory (RFI).

The following 7 areas from Reivich and Shatte are adapted by Dr. Angela Smith. Use these 7 areas as an essential tool to enhance your understanding of resilience and to deepen your understanding of the Excellence in Resilience 4 Phases of Resilience™ model


Research that examines the seven skills of resilience

University of Pennsylvania, USA

The field of resilience became popular through the work at the University of Pennsylvania’s resilience program.

Dr. Martin Seligman and his colleagues trained teachers in how to make children more resilient. The group intervention for students ages 8 – 15 taught cognitive behavioural and social problem solving skills based in part on CBT for depression developed by Dr. Aaron Beck. The study suggested that resilience training by teachers helped reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety in children. The Penn program has been the nucleus for helping to grow resilience around the world. Interestingly, the first global impact in the study of resilience was focused on children, who, according to many adults, are already resilient (Smith, 2013).

Learn more about the work of Dr. Seligman and his colleagues on Read his bestselling books Learned Optimism , Authentic Happiness and Flourish.

University of Nottingham, UK

Post Adversity Growth

An exciting and fairly new research area within Psychology is that of Post Adversity Growth. Professor Stephen Joseph is one of the world’s experts in this field and has researched this area for two decades.

Post adversity growth, simply put, means psychological growth from an adversity. Please have a read of his website and blog to find out a bit more about post adversity growth.

Below are links to websites that discuss Post Adversity Growth.

Questionnaires on Post Adversity Growth

Below is a list of the available self-report questionnaires that will help you measure post adversity growth. You can obtain permission from the authors to use them. They were sourced from

  • The Revised Perceived Stress Scale
    Cohen, S., Kamarck, T., & Mermelstein, R. (1983). A global measure of perceived stress. Journal of health and social behavior, 385-396.
  • The Connor-Davis Resilient scale (CD-RISC) (revised)
    Gucciardi, D. F., Jackson, B., Coulter, T. J., & Mallett, C. J. (2011). The Connor-Davidson
    resilience scale (CD-RISC): dimensionality and age-related measurement invariance with
    Australian cricketers. Psychology of Sport and Exercise. 12, 1-11.
  • The Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI)
    Tedeschi, R. G., & Calhoun, L. G. (1996). The posttraumatic growth inventory: Measuring the positive legacy of trauma. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 9, 455-471.
  • The Posttraumatic Growth Inventory – Short Form (PTGI-SF)
    Cann, A., Calhoun, L. G., Tedeschi, R. G., Taku, K., Vishnevsky, T., Triplett, K. N., & Danhauer, S. C. (2010). A short form of the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory. Anxiety, Stress & Coping, 23, 127-137.
  • The Psychological Well-Being – Posttraumatic Changes Questionnaire (PWB-PTCQ)
    Joseph, S., Maltby, J., Wood, A. M., Stockton, H., Hunt, N., & Regel, S. (2011). The psychological well-being – Posttraumatic changes questionnaire (PWB-PTCQ): Reliability and validity. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 15, 1-9.
  • The Changes in Outlook Questionnaire (CiOQ)
    Joseph, S., Williams, R, & Yule, W. (1993). Changes in outlook following disaster: The preliminary development of a measure to assess positive and negative responses. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 6, 271-279
  • The Stress-Related Growth Scale (SRGS)
    Park, C. L., Cohen, L.H., & Murch, R. L. (1996). Assessment and prediction of stress-related growth. Journal of Personality, 64, 71-105.
  • The Perceived Benefits Scale
    McMillen, J. C., & Fisher, R. (1998). The perceived benefits scale: Measuring perceived positive life changes following negative events. Social Work Research, 22, 173-187.
  • The Benefit Finding Scale (BFS)
    Tomich, P. L., & Helgeson, V. S. (2004). Is finding something good in the bad always good? Benefit finding among women with breast cancer. Health Psychology, 23, 16-23.
  • The Personal Growth Initiative Scale-II (PGIS-II)
    Robitschek, C., Ashton, M. W., Spering, C. C., Geiger, N., Byers, D., Schotts, C. G., & Thoen, M. A. (2012). Development and psychometric evaluation of the personal growth initiative scale-II. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 59, 274-287.
  • The Silver Lining Questionnaire (SLQ-38)
    Sodergren, S. C., & Hyland, M. E. (2000). What are the positive consequences of illness? Psychology and Health, 15, 85-97.
  • The Thriving Scale (TS)
    Abraido-Lanza, A. F., Guier, C., & Colon, M. R. (1998). Psychological thriving among Latinas with chronic illness. Journal of Social Issues, 54, 405-428.

Additional Research

Below are examples of research in the area of resilience training.

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