Reflecting on the resilience and well-being of individuals, volunteers, organisations and communities

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationProfessional blog or online forum


Resilience is a popular yet complicated concept. When I think of resilience, I think of words like adaptable, continuing, flexible, functional, hopeful, persevering and having the ability to generate options within complexity - especially when experiencing adverse and uncertain situations. Social work and sociological and theological resilience literature show us that resilience may either be embraced as a strength and perceived as an essential survival resource that empowers people and communities and helps us cope with vulnerability - or - derided as an exploitative tool used by those more powerful to shift responsibility for wellbeing from an organisation to people less powerful whilst allowing repressive social conditions and structures to thrive.
I do not see resilience in such a dualistic way. Instead, I think we can perceive resilience as a trait or a resource, depending on how people engage it. When used to support empowerment, resilience can help practitioners, volunteers, organisations and communities manage existential distress and trauma (E. Rush, S. Redshaw and M. Short, ‘Philosophical and spiritual worldviews and professional resilience in frontline social work and human services: a scoping literature review’, Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work: Social Thought 42, no. 2, 2023, 193–210). Further, as a social worker inspired by multidisciplinary thinking, in my research, I am becoming increasingly convinced that resilience grounded in the Christian faith can be a valuable part of a well-being toolkit that allows practitioners, volunteers, groups, organisations and communities to make meaning of uncertainty and complex situations.

Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationEthos - EA Centre for Christianity and Society
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2024


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