Resilience Program

The Resilience Program at Massachusetts General Hospital offers programs that help young people learn to manage their emotions and the demands of school, work and new social experiences and develop better ways to cope with daily stress.
Meet Our Team

Contact the Resilience Program 617-724-2931

Overview

Prior research has shown that adolescence and early adulthood is a time of elevated risk for developing mental health problems. The overall goal of the Resilience Program is to develop and implement a variety of tools aimed at reducing this risk in young people.

In our clinic, an initial evaluation is comprised of two parts:

  1. Comprehensive assessment of an individual’s psychological strengths and areas of vulnerability
  2. Feedback and recommendations for steps to take that could potentially mitigate those vulnerabilities and augment the strengths.

One recommendation could be for a brief one-on-one or group-based intervention provided by the staff of our program (“resilience training”). In these trainings, we focus on teaching techniques that increase a sense of self-awareness, appreciation of the experiences of others, the ability to manage emotions and a greater experience of well-being.

We are also conducting research focused on developing tools to identify youth who are at risk for developing neuropsychiatric disorders and approaches for reducing that risk.

Who We Serve

The goal of the Resilience Program is to help children, adolescents and young adults ages 10-30 who are interested in increasing their resilience, i.e., their ability to cope with stressful circumstances and navigate the ups and downs of their lives.

They may be merely noticing that day-to-day life is more difficult than it used to be or finding it harder to bounce back from stressful experiences. Some are doing well at the moment but are concerned about the potential effects of a risk factor for developing psychological difficulties in the future—factors such as having a close relative with a psychiatric illness or an early history of traumatic experiences or other types of adversity (poverty, social deprivation).

Is the Resilience Program Right for You?

The Resilience Program may be helpful if you answer "yes" to questions like these.

Do you:

  • Tend to blame yourself when something goes wrong?
  • Sometimes have trouble knowing what you are feeling?
  • Feel at times that you have to really push yourself to get things done?
  • Sometimes feel that you are very different from everyone else?
  • Ever wonder if you are “going crazy” in some way?
  • Sometimes feel like everyone is against you?

Would you:

  • Like to learn how to accept and grow from setbacks?
  • Like to develop a more non-judgmental way of viewing yourself and the world?
  • Benefit from treating yourself with more compassion?
  • Like to develop skills to become more effective in your interpersonal relationships?

Philosophy of the Resilience Program

Our philosophy is based on the idea that it is important to maintain one’s mental health, just as it is important to maintain one’s physical health by exercising and eating right. Research has shown that even when things are going relatively well, spending the time to learn and practice effective strategies for coping with stress can prevent the development of mental health problems down the road.

People appear to be less susceptible to mental health problems after they have learned specific techniques for enhancing their psychological well-being, including ways to maintain and augment the psychological strengths they already have.

 

Learn More about the Resilience Program

Programs at Mass General

Outpatient Consultation with Time-limited Resilience Training

Our outpatient program works with young people between the ages of 10 and 30 who may be at risk for psychiatric disorders based on:

  • Presence of current low-level symptoms (such as mild depression or anxiety, unusual ideas, perceptual or cognitive changes)
  • Family history of serious mental illness
  • History of early adversity (traumatic or very stressful experiences, such as loss of a close family member, deprivation or abuse, extreme poverty)

We provide a two-session evaluation conducted by a psychiatrist or psychologist.

  • Session one: A psychological assessment using validated research measures (questionnaires) and a one-hour evaluation by an experienced clinician
  • Session two: Feedback and recommendations, which may include referral to a short course of individual resilience training and/or additional assessments

Resilience Training

Strengths-based resilience training is comprised of 6-12 one-on-one sessions with a clinician focused on developing better coping skills for managing stress and relationships. The training includes exposure to and in-session practice of techniques derived from a range of established, evidence-based therapies (see below). The program is tailored to meet the needs of each person based on an initial assessment of areas of strengths and vulnerability.

This training may include elements of these evidence-based therapeutic approaches and techniques:

  • Mindfulness
  • Self-compassion
  • Mentalization (understanding your own and others' mental states)
  • Emotion identification and regulation strategies
  • Stress management
  • Positive psychology

 

Community Programs

Resilience Training on College Campus

This research study focuses on developing an early detection and prevention program for college students who are at some risk for developing psychiatric illnesses. First, students are screened for the presence of low-level, subthreshold symptoms of these illnesses (which are associated with some degree of increased risk for mental health problems, depending on their type and severity). Students with such symptoms are then invited to participate in a four-session resilience and leadership program conducted in groups of 8-12 students.

The goal of this research is to test and validate a program that can be used in a variety of higher education settings to identify and monitor at-risk college students and potentially prevent the development of serious mental illness or intervene as early as possible if such an illness arises in these students.

Skills for Success Program: Resilience-building for At-risk Adolescents

The Skills for Success Program is a collaboration between the Department of Pediatrics at the Chelsea HealthCare Center and the Resilience Program. It is a pilot early detection and prevention program for middle-school aged children. Those who are potentially at-risk for the development of mental health problems are identified at their annual check-up with their pediatrician. If a child appears to be at some risk based on the results of a validated screening questionnaire, that child’s parents are invited to enroll their child in an 8-session resilience training program.

This program focuses on teaching emotion identification and regulation skills, as well as increasing compassion for self and others. The acquisition of such skills has been shown to increase resilience levels in youth and to reduce early symptoms of psychopathology.

Our Team

Daphne Holt, MD, PhD, Director
Leah Namey, MPH, Senior program manager


Our Doctors

  • Cather, Corinne, PhD

    617-724-5600

    Accepting New Patients

    Locations
    • Boston: Psychiatry-Outpatient Services
  • Holt, Daphne J., MD, PhD

    617-726-7618

    Accepting New Patients

    Board Certifications
    • Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
    Locations
    • Boston: Psychiatry-Outpatient Services
    • Boston: Psychiatry
  • Lundy, Nancy Ann, EDD

    617-887-4600

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • Neuropsychological assessment
    • Mentalization based treatment
    • Dialectical behavior therapy
    Locations
    • Chelsea: Chelsea HealthCare Center
    • Boston: LEAP Program
  • Nyer, Maren B., PhD

    617-724-5600

    Accepting New Patients

    Locations
    • Boston: Depression Clinical and Research Program
  • Tyson, John W., MD

    617-724-5600

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • First Episode and Early Psychosis
    • Emergency psychiatry
    Board Certifications
    • Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
    • Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
    Locations
    • Boston: Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
    • Boston: Acute Psychiatry Service

Additional Staff:

Anne Burke, PhD, Clinical fellow
Katia Canenguez, PhD, Psychologist
Jacqueline Clauss MD, PhD, Resident
Kelsey Han, Medical student
Ylira Pimental-Diaz, LICSW, Social worker

Wisteria Deng, Clinical research coordinator
Vanya Zvonar, Clinical research coordinator

Contact Us

Resilience Program

Phone: 617-724-2931

We are happy to discuss our approach in more detail with you. To find out more or to schedule an initial meeting, please contact us.

We accept most insurances common in eastern Massachusetts. Please contact your insurance company with any insurance-specific concerns.

Meet Our Team

Contact the Resilience Program 617-724-2931

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