The Recipe for a Resilient Family 

Every family experience some form of hardship. Have you ever noticed how some families seem to bounce back, perhaps even using their trials for good, while others never quite seem to recover? What makes some families more resilient?  Family resilience is the ability to “withstand and rebound from disruptive life challenges, strengthened and more resourceful” (Walsh, 2011). While it may seem that some families are” born” with an inherent ability to withstand difficulty, the good news is than any family can grow their resilience (Pogosyan, 2017).   Dr. Froma Walsh is a family therapist and leading expert on family resilience. She has identified nine main ingredients for family resilience, divided into three categories: belief systems (what the family thinks and believes); organizational patterns (how the family acts and relates to one another), and communication patterns (how the family speaks and communicates). Any family can mix together these nine ingredients to make their own, unique family resilience “recipe.”  

Belief systems 

Resilient families… 
  1. Are able to make meaning of the adversity, perhaps by normalizing the hardship or viewing it as an opportunity for growth.  
  2. Have a hopeful and positive outlook. They seize opportunities and persevere.  
  3. Have a sense of purpose, larger values or some form of spirituality/faith to lean on. 

Organizational patterns 

Resilient families… 
  1. Are flexible and able to adapt to new circumstances while also maintaining some stability (rituals, routines, strong leadership). 
  2. Are connected and supportive of one another. They respect each other as individuals. 
  3. Have social and economic resources by mobilizing the support of kin, social and community networks. 

Communication patterns 

Resilient families… 
  1. Have clear communication. They seek and speak truth. 
  2. They are open with their emotions and willing to share a range of feelings without blaming or “lashing out”.  
  3. Are able to tap into their inner resourcefulness and collaborate to problem solve.  
At Fuller Life, we believe there is hope for all families to thrive after a hardship. We are here to walk alongside as you do.     Resources  Pogosyan, M. (2017). What Makes Families Resilient? Walsh, F. (2011). Family resilience: a collaborative approach in response to stressful life challenges. Resilience and mental health: Challenges across the lifespan, 149-161.      Contributed by Tamara Tatum, LMFT-Associate
Tamara Tatum, Resident Therapist
Supervised by Amy Fuller, PhD, LMFT-S

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