Thursday, August 25, 2005

Disability; Resiliency as a step toward becoming a practitioner of Self-Efficacy; Part #1 - Introd. of Al Siebert, PhD, and the concept of Resiliency

Disability; Resiliency as a step toward becoming: an Expert Patient; a Chronic Disease Self-Manager; a partner with your health care providers in Patient-Centered health care; and, a practitioner of Self-Efficacy[1] - Part #1 – Introduction of Al Siebert, PhD, and the concept of Resiliency

In a previous blog, I announced that the three (3) primary goals of the website and of the disabilitykey blog are:
1. To educate, by surfing the Internet and finding information that interests me, a disabled person, thereby doing the "research" for those who are becoming disabled; who are disabled; who provide care for those who are disabled.
2. To encourage, push, cajole, and use whatever means at my disposal (except for bribe, as I can't afford it) folks who are becoming and who are disabled to take primary responsibility for becoming an Expert Patient; for learning how to become proficient in Chronic Disease Self-Management; and, for insisting that your health care support team practice what is called "patient-centered" health care.
3. For learning as much about your condition and its symptom impairment impacts on your normal daily living activities that you become more empowered to accomplish whatever you set out to do (i.e., apply for and qualify for SSDI the first time around), thereby increasing the quality of your life. To assist readers to achieve a condition where they consider themselves a valuable "alternatelyAbled" person who just happens to have a chronic disease, but is NOT defined by that disease!

In a continuing desire to better define these concepts, and to give you specific tools to assist you in your learning and development process, I published a blog on August 24th, 2005 entitled “Disability and Stress”. In this blog, I introduced you to a "decades-long" colleague of mine from whom I have learned a lot about these concepts. As a result, I have had the opportunity to internalize and to actually use his concepts both professionally and personally.

This colleague’s name is Al Siebert, PhD. He is the Director of The Resiliency Center; he is also the author of The Resiliency Advantage and The Survivor Personality.

His three websites are:

For those of you who are unfamiliar with any of the above-mentioned concepts, please check out previous blogs within the disabilitykey blog archives. These concepts are ALL described in great detail, as is the research behind each. What I realized that I needed to do, in addition to articulating these topics, is to provide you with some practical guidance on essentially, what it takes to become a “healthy person”.

Please understand; I am fully disabled; I have been managing the symptoms of progressively chronic Multiple Sclerosis for over 45 years. And yet, I define myself as a “healthy person”! As I have explained before, I am an Expert Patient; I am a Chronic Disease Self-Manager; I experience Patient-Centered health care with my health care support team; I practice Self-Efficacy, and I am, as my colleague Al Siebert has called me, “…a fabulous ‘resiler’
[3]!”. All of this allows me to be a “healthy person”, who just happens to have a disability!

While this may seem inconsistent, please bear with me through this and subsequent blogs. I plan on providing you with actual real life examples of where I have partnered with Dr. Siebert to implement his concepts in both workplace environments, and in personal situations.

Having just reread Dr. Siebert’s book The Resiliency Advantage in light of these disabilitykey blogs, I am finding entirely new levels of understanding and meaning for those of us living with, or helping others living with, chronic illnesses! It shouldn’t amaze me; his wisdom worked wonders in helping me help my employees in better managing their work environments during times of crisis and constant change; why shouldn’t it help us – those of us coping with the daily crisises and constant change of chronic illness? The answer, of course, is it does help.

In finishing today’s blog, we will define resilience, resilient, and resiliency as Dr. Siebert does in his book The Resiliency Advantage
[4]. As you read this definition, think, carefully, of your situation, attempting daily, to manage your chronic illness. If you have difficulty relating the definition to your situation, feel free to write a comment to this blog. We will be linking the concepts together in future blogs.

“Resilience, resilient, and resiliency refer to the abilitly to
- cope well with high levels of ongoing disruptive change;
- sustain good health and energy when under constant pressure;
- bounce back easily from setbacks;
- overcome adversities;
- change to a new way of working and living when an old way is no longer possible; and,
- do all this without acting in dysfunctional or harmful ways.

If you look in an unabridged dictionary, you will see that “resile” is the verb for resilience and “resiling” is the adverb. The words “resile” and “resiling” will be used in this book at times to emphasize that resiliency is something you do, more than something you have.”

Are you a “resiler”? Let me give you a hint; the key is contained in the last sentence of the quote, above, from Dr. Siebert's book.

Stay tuned…….

[1] Here is the definition of self-efficacy used in the context of chronic disease management: Self -efficacy is the belief in one's capabilities to organize and execute the sources of action required to manage situations associated with one's chronic illness.
[2] Both of Dr. Siebert’s books can be purchased on his websites.
[3] Al Siebert autographed a copy of his new book The Resiliency Advantage this way for me in May of 2005.
[4] The Resiliency Advantage; Copyright © 2005 by Al Siebert, PhD; ISBN-13: 978-1-57675-329-3; page #5.


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