La Coop P.A.- General and Forensic Psychiatry - Boutique-Private Psychiatric and Forensic Practice in Tampa-Clearwater-Florida


April 2014 - The Importance of Losing


At the end of September I read an article in reference to losing. Being allowed to lose. There was an author quoted who is the author of a book called, Generation Me. Ms. Twenge said, " In life, you're going to lose more often than you win, even if you're good at something. You've got to get used to that to keep going." I just thought that this was fantastic! It's my attitude for sure and as all of you know, I have lost many times and I take a lickin' and keep on tickin'. This is what we need to do as adults and what we need to be teaching our children.

This newsletter is going to focus on this valuable action in our lives. People have a tendency to dwell on these things and see them as negative, whereas every loss is an opportunity to grow and learn.


Dr. L

Resilience: how you stand up to a loss and grow from it.

Have you ever met someone that just suffered a significant devastating loss and they appeared fine? In fact, they saw it as something that changed their life in a way that they could look at and see as something they had to go through to be where they are today. That attitude and the actions that follow show resilience. Resilience is essential in terms of the psychology of loss.

Resilience is defined as, "ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy." The word has a Latin route that means, "to spring back, rebound."

Patients typically see me as this type of person because when I hear many of the horrible stories that I do from people that I care about - I always try to see the positive to help myself and my patient to understand why this horrible tragedy could have happened.

Once we process the loss, patients often ask me how they can handle the next situation better. How can they become more resilient?

Resilience can be born, but it can also be made.

It's true - some people just have more of an ability to be resilient than others. Maybe they faced a lot of adversity in their childhood and through trial and error they learned that being positive and moving on was a way to get praise versus negative attention. Others, have just learned that as an adult because they may have been shielded as a child from most adversity. Others still have a long way to go because in spite of the negative consequences of getting swallowed up in their problems - they still haven't figured out how to use the new found knowledge to create an opportunity they may never have seen before had [name a bad thing] not happened.

So, how can you become more resilient? As many of you know - I'm an action oriented person and so I believe that behaviorally we can work on things that don't come naturally cognitively.

  • Try to maintain a positive view of yourself and have confidence in your personal strengths and unique abilities - If you can't see these in yourself - TALK TO ME ABOUT IT!!! I'll set you straight!
  • Obtain the capability to manage strong feelings and impulses - this is a crucial skill and one that a lot of people can work on. It's hard to maintain a positive outlook or a can do attitude when you're throwing things around the office. Also, it doesn't make you look good in front of your peers which can then have a negative effect on your self confidence.
  • Develop good problem-solving and communication skills if you don't already have them - Resilient people change the outcome of events as they see them unfolding because they are quick on their feet and know how to access their personal resources [effective communicators]. Again, through our therapy we work on this in EACH session. How to describe what you are feeling in an effective way is a significant skill and one that can help you in your relationships with others.
  • Have the ability and internal confidence to seek help and resources when you need them - Resilient people aren't afraid to say that they don't know or need help. They also obtain through effective communication and the ability to establish strong loyal attachments a network of resources or a databank from which to access information. This is one of the things that we work on in therapy [we are a team and I'm a part of your network] which is why I ask certain questions to see if this is something that you have thought about. Or, we can work together to come up with the best solution.
  • You need to see yourself as resilient (rather than as a victim) - this is ANOTHER crucial item. Non-resilient people just automatically assume the victim role. They don't even consider that they have power. Part of our work together is to find your power and use it effectively in every adverse situation you encounter.
  • Stop using harmful coping strategies, such as substance abuse - this is just taking you in the opposite direction from where you need to be - There is NEVER a time when abusing substances is a good idea. It just wipes away all credibility, and takes away your ability to think clearly. This is one of the reasons that we discuss this in sessions - it's a relevant issue whether you think it is or not.
  • Take time to Help others - Resilient people do this as a part of their every day life. Helping others is ALWAYS a good policy. Seeing other people in unfortunate positions and helping them through those times only increases my databank for myself and others. You can do this too!! Reach out. I am involved in the Junior League of Tampa, but there are many many other organizations that need your help.
  • As an overall goal - find positive meaning in your life - All of you know how much I believe in this. I have only been able to do what I have done in my life from a child because I knew that my life was worth more than just my own life. It's been a guiding principal for me. When something horrible comes my way, looking at myself is such a minimal thing in my mind. It's my more universal purpose of making the world a better place that drives me. Find a thought in yourself that is bigger than just you and you'll be on your way to becoming more resilient.

So, try some of these things that naturally resilient people do and you may find that you become more able to withstand the difficulty in life.

Life is hard, but you know what? We can do hard things.

Until next time.

Dr. L
LA COOP, PA - General and Forensic Psychiatry

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