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Core concepts and skills -

Assess Your Strengths:
Survival and Creative Resources

 We all possess various resources: abilities (e.g., computer skills, cycling, or reading), talents, skills, aptitudes (e.g., playing a musical instrument, navigating an unfamiliar city, performing well at work, painting, drawing), personal style, and inner capacities (e.g., experiencing emotions, being in tune with the body, or being grounded). Almost any ability, aptitude, interest, or skill that supports our well-being can serve as a resource to help us cope with life's challenges or make difficult times more manageable. However, specific resources (e.g., overworking or staying silent) that help us cope with complex and challenging, even traumatic, experiences in the past may limit us in the present. Nevertheless, we may have resources, such as enjoying reading or exercising, that can continue to serve us regardless of the circumstances.


Our resources help us stay calm and centered in complex or stressful situations. They give us the energy to solve a problem or resolve our conflicts. The more resources we have, the more quickly we can cope with life's challenges and disappointments. By becoming aware of and consciously activating our resources, we can respond more balanced and creatively to challenging situations and relational dynamics.


Negative experiences can disrupt our connection to our resources. Inadequate attachment from caregivers or adult partners can evoke rejection, lack of love, abandonment, or shame. These feelings can lead to beliefs that we are not good enough, worthless, stupid, or incompetent. Trauma can overwhelm or deplete our resources, making us feel they are absent and unavailable to manage our lives. These experiences can prompt us to focus more on our shortcomings than our strengths, leading to habits such as self-criticism or ruminating on our negative traits, painful memories, and difficult situations. This situation upsets us and reinforces the belief that we are not good enough.

We might even perceive our strengths as weaknesses or fail to see them. However, this isn't true, as even those who feel uncertain or unstable have numerous resources, albeit unconsciously used. Focusing on negative traits and experiences usually makes us forget or ignore the resources available to us and that we use daily. This attitude undermines self-esteem, hinders life enjoyment, and can be destabilizing.

If you see yourself in a negative light or don't acknowledge your competencies, working with your resources can help you find balance. The focus is on learning how to identify and activate the strengths we've developed throughout our lives. It doesn't mean we should ignore our internal struggles, weaknesses, or shortcomings when trying to utilize our resources. The goal is to see ourselves in our entirety, not just our flaws or strengths, but both in unity and balance. Recognizing and integrating our resources can help us resolve complicated feelings about our past and confidently work toward our well-being.​

In activating mental health counseling, we focus on identifying your resources and how you can use them. You can become aware of and strengthen your creative resources, which can help you grow, develop, and create well-being. You can also learn to recognize your survival resources, which have helped you cope with difficult situations, insecure attachments, and traumas.

In stressful situations, we instinctively use the resources that our previous experiences have shown can help us through trials. With these survival resources, we can endure and cope with whatever happens. For example, during a traumatic experience, freezing, collapsing, fleeing, or fighting back may have helped us survive. Habits such as constant alertness or fear of leaving the house can be considered survival mechanisms developed in the past.


Survival Resources

Survival resources can also help us effectively adapt to the needs and expectations of our family. Imagine growing up in a household where kids were supposed to obey without question and were not encouraged to speak up or share their thoughts. In that case, we might have embodied this expectation by curling up, lowering our heads, and displaying a submissive demeanor. This behavior often comes with the feeling, and later the belief, that "we can't be who we are" or "we can't stand up for ourselves." We would now possess these resources if we had grown up in an environment where we were encouraged to freely express our opinions when disagreeing or to stand up for ourselves if necessary.


Creative Resources

In addition to resources that aid in survival, personal strengths and abilities also develop, helping us learn, develop our talents, integrate our experiences, and personal growth. These creative resources facilitate our intellectual, physical, emotional, and mental development and contribute to bringing out our best and becoming who we want to be.​

When mapping creative resources, we must consider our professional knowledge, skills, talents, and strengths. Do you play sports, read, write, make music, draw, cook, or garden? Are you good at math, history, or other sciences? Are you known for your positive attitude, problem-solving abilities, or deep thinking? Do you have a special connection with animals? These and other creative resources can significantly enhance life satisfaction, self-esteem, and relationships.

In the activating work, beyond identifying survival resources, you can learn to identify and develop your creative resources and then activate them in place of outdated survival resources.​


How Activating Strengths/Resources Can Help

Tibor's father supported him wholeheartedly in his school studies and work when he was younger, teaching him the value of hard work and achievement. However, after his father’s sudden death, Tibor's mother taught him the opposite: humility and not to be boastful. Tibor met these new expectations by suppressing his potential and achievements, which became his survival resource.


Tibor felt pride in his work as an adult, but his mother's warnings lingered as negative thoughts in his mind. Through mental health counseling, he identified the somatic habits that served as his survival resources and strengthened his sense of pride in his work, which became his creative resource. He practiced experiencing this innovative resource, replacing his survival resource with it, and found that his mood improved; he felt more satisfied and approached problem-solving more confidently.


The first step in activating resources is recognizing that you already have numerous resources and being aware that your body reflects them. The next step is to learn to use your resources consciously, accept your survival resources, manage outdated ones, and get to know, experience, and deepen your creative resources.​


Ogden, P., Minton, K., & Pain, C. (2006). Trauma and the body: A sensorimotor approach to psychotherapy. WW Norton & Company.

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