Social Support Development Skills

COUNSELLING CONNECTION: Published Feb. 28, 2013

“No man is an island” seems not truer anywhere than in the realm of resilience.  Alvah Parker  (Author, Happiness and business coach) lists ten traits of resilient, happy people. In the very first one she notes that resilient people “are strong people who realize the importance of having a good social support system and are able to surround themselves with supportive friends and family” (Parker, 2012).

Similarly, organisational adviser/facilitator David Liddell, addressing managers, names six traits of resilience in organisational leaders, among which is: “Team Support: Although you are a strong individual, you know the value of social support and are able to surround yourself with supportive colleagues and strong leaders” (Liddell, 2012). So, we ask, what are the skills a person needs to develop good social support networks? We look at developing relational capacity and balancing dependence and independence.

Developing relational capacity

Writing about the most resilience-requiring experience – the trauma of abuse – Herman (1992) remarks that the core experiences of psychological trauma are those of disempowerment and disconnection from others; the recovery, therefore, is based on empowerment of the survivor and the creation of new connections. Recovery, she insists, can only take place in relationship, not in isolation. In renewing connections with people, survivors of abuse or trauma re-create the psychological faculties that were damaged or deformed by the traumatic experience. These include the basic capacities for trust, autonomy, initiative, competence, identity, and intimacy.



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