In thinking about resiliency in clinical practice, most seek to understand the special quality about an individual that helps him overcome adversity. In a simplistic version of this inquiry, the professional may look at a person’s characteristics to ascertain what makes him stronger than another, as if resiliency is located within a person rather than how he is affected by his lived experience. In an attempt to complicate the construct of resilience, by using a phenomenological lens, I believe that interactions between a person and a supportive environment, to include other people, increase the likelihood of him having resilient outcomes. Luthar and Cicchetti (2000) state that
Resilience is a dynamic process wherein individuals display positive adaptation despite experiences of significant adversity or trauma. It is a two-dimensional construct that implies exposure to adversity and the manifestation of positive adjustment outcomes p. 858
So, resilience is not a characteristic within a person, but rather, a process that happens between the whole person, mind and body included, and his environment; a person has an experience that may be traumatic and he adjusts positively.
As a professional working with children and youth who struggle with past and present adversities, the phenomenological perspective of resilience changes the focus from qualities within a person to the lived experience of the person. Below I summarize practices that professionals can use to foster resilient outcomes for children and youth in foster care placements who have experienced adversity.