Wednesday, June 29, 2005

"The Resilience Factor"

Trisha Meili, the "Central Park jogger," was given last rites after her rape and savage beating in New York 16 years ago, a crime that appalled people all over the USA.

Only the soles of her feet were unbruised. Multiple gashes split Meili's scalp; an eye socket was fractured in 21 places. She could not breathe on her own, lost most of her blood and had severe brain damage.

Doctors doubted the 28-year-old investment banker would survive. One even told her parents, "It might be better for all if Trisha died."

But she didn't die....

Sixteen years later, this same woman drew a standing ovation after a polished speech on recovering from trauma. She spoke at the American Psychiatric Association meeting in Atlanta last month. She'll also address the American Psychological Association in August in Washington, D.C.

Meili didn't just survive; she thrived and grew.

We ran a great story this morning on the cover of the Life Section about Trisha Meili who is known as the "Central Park Jogger."

I was riveted to the story because it echos a concept that's been helpful to me for years (and I've also blogged about) : psychological hardiness. As I mention in my earlier blarticle, the term was coined (or at least popularized) by Drs. Salvatore R Maddi (who's also quoted in our Meili article) and Deborah M. Koshaba.

The article also mentions "the growing 'positive psychology'" movement that's been connected to University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin EP Seligman. emergesque had earlier summarized his wonderful book Learned Optimism as part of the In the Foxhole series.

The USA TODAY article bullets 5 keys to creating resilience:

  • A "can-do" optimism and goal setting
  • A "present" emphasis
  • Bravery
  • Willingess to accept help
  • Spirituality and life-changing growth
Books mentioned in the article:

Websites listed in the article:

I find the hardiness/resilience meme very consistent with biblical concepts (particularly those Pauline as seen in Philippians 4) and it's been helpful to me personally.


Howie Luvzus said...

To what does Trisha Meili attribute her resilience?

Stephen said...

Hi Howie,

I haven't read the book. But I did find on her website (which I link to in the blog) there are quite a few interviews that are listed where she might spill the beans.