We live in turbulent times, on the edge of uncertainty. Family life and the world around us have changed so dramatically in recent years that while we yearn for strong and enduring relationships, we are unsure how to shape and sustain them to weather the storms of life. Although some families are shattered by crisis or persistent stresses, what is remarkable is that others emerge strengthened and more resourceful.
With widespread concern about family breakdown, we need more than ever to understand the processes that can foster family resilience—a relational hardiness. In order to support and strengthen couples and families, we need useful conceptual tools as much as techniques. This chapter lays the foundations for a family resilience framework for clinical and community practice, prevention efforts, research, and family policy.

A family resilience approach aims to identify and fortify key interactional processes that enable families to withstand and rebound from disruptive life challenges. A resilience lens shifts perspective from viewing distressed families as damaged to seeing them as challenged, affirming their potential for repair and growth. This approach is based on the conviction that both individual and relational strength can be forged through collaborative efforts to deal with sudden crisis or prolonged adversity. 
Resilience has become an important concept in child development and mental health theory and research. Investigators have discovered that many individuals who suffered childhood adversity defied dire expectations
of serious and long-lasting damage, instead growing up to lead full, loving, and productive lives. However, the widely held view of resilience as individual hardiness, and the field’s skewed focus on family dysfunction, blinded many to the resources that could be found and strengthened in distressed families. 
A family resilience framework fundamentally alters traditional deficit- based perspectives. Instead of focusing on how families have failed, we redirect our attention to how they can succeed. Rather than giving up on troubled families and salvaging individual survivors, we can draw out the best in families, building on key processes to encourage both individual and family growth.
This chapter begins by defining and clarifying the concept of resilience. It then surveys what has been learned from studies of resilient individuals, noting the crucial influence of relationships and social support. Next, a systemic view of resilience is advanced: Attention is shifted from individual traits to transactional processes that foster resilience over time. Finally, the concept of family resilience is presented, involving key processes that strengthen resilience in the family as a functional unit.

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