Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy

, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 193–204 | Cite as

The Enhancement of Natural Resilience in Trauma Interventions

  • Mark S. Burton
  • Andrew A. Cooper
  • Norah C. Feeny
  • Lori A. Zoellner
Original Paper


Resilience following trauma is the rule, not the exception. The minority of individuals who go on to suffer chronic pathology such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will likely benefit from a number of evidence-based treatments. The study of resilience provides a new framework to examine and build upon these existing therapies. This article outlines an evidence-based theoretical model for understanding psychotherapy for PTSD through the lens of resilience. Specifically, we explore three broad factors thought to underlie resilience: social support, returning to daily routine, and meaning making. We review the literature regarding the impact of these factors on natural recovery after a trauma as well as treatment response. We connect these processes to interventions and techniques used in several empirically supported therapies, highlighting compatibility and synergy with therapeutic goals. With this review, we aim to map our existing knowledge about resilience onto theoretical models of treatment efficacy to broaden our conceptualization of treatment mechanisms and spur new ideas to improve clinical outcomes for those suffering due to trauma.


PTSD Resilience Trauma focused treatments 



This manuscript was supported in part by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (R01MH066347: Zoellner; R01MH06648: Feeny).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark S. Burton
    • 1
  • Andrew A. Cooper
    • 1
  • Norah C. Feeny
    • 1
  • Lori A. Zoellner
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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