Resilience Research Centre

New – Resilience, Adaptive Peacebuilding and Transitional Justice (2021)

Multisystemic Resilience (2021)

Working with Children and Youth with Complex Needs, 2nd Edition (2020)

Change Your World (2019)

What Works Manual (2018)

I Still Love You (2015)

Youth Resilience and Culture (2015)

The Social Ecology of Resilience (2012)

The Social Worker (2011)

Counseling in Challenging Contexts (2011)

Researching Resilience (2009)

We Generation (2009)

Resilience In Action (2008)

Too Safe for Their Own Good (2007)

Playing at Being Bad (2007)

Strengths-Based Counseling with at Risk Youth (2006)

Handbook for Working with Children and Youth (2005)

Nurturing Hidden Resilience in Troubled Youth (2004)

Resilience, Adaptive Peacebuilding and Transitional Justice (2021)

Processes of post-war reconstruction, peacebuilding and reconciliation are partly about fostering stability and adaptive capacity across different social systems. Nevertheless, these processes have seldom been expressly discussed within a resilience framework. Similarly, although the goals of transitional justice – among them (re)establishing the rule of law, delivering justice and aiding reconciliation – implicitly encompass a resilience element, transitional justice has not been explicitly theorised as a process for building resilience in communities and societies that have suffered large-scale violence and human rights violations. The chapters in this unique volume theoretically and empirically explore the concept of resilience in diverse societies that have experienced mass violence and human rights abuses. They analyse the extent to which transitional justice processes have – and can – contribute to resilience and how, in so doing, they can foster adaptive peacebuilding. This book is available as Open Access.

Resilience, Adaptive Peacebuilding and Transitional Justice (2021)

Processes of post-war reconstruction, peacebuilding and reconciliation are partly about fostering stability and adaptive capacity across different social systems. Nevertheless, these processes have seldom been expressly discussed within a resilience framework. Similarly, although the goals of transitional justice – among them (re)establishing the rule of law, delivering justice and aiding reconciliation – implicitly encompass a resilience element, transitional justice has not been explicitly theorised as a process for building resilience in communities and societies that have suffered large-scale violence and human rights violations. The chapters in this unique volume theoretically and empirically explore the concept of resilience in diverse societies that have experienced mass violence and human rights abuses. They analyse the extent to which transitional justice processes have – and can – contribute to resilience and how, in so doing, they can foster adaptive peacebuilding. This book is available as Open Access.

Multisystemic Resilience (2021)

Multisystemic Resilience brings together for the first time in one volume a wide range of resilience scholars who have been wrestling with how to explain processes of recovery, adaptation, and transformation in contexts of change and adversity. With contributions from psychologists, epigeneticists, ecologists, architects, disaster specialists, engineers, sociologists, social workers, and public health researchers among others, this innovative volume creates a platform for an interdisciplinary conversation about how to effectively research resilience across systems. Even more, it explores how to identify possible solutions to problems that threaten the physical and mental health of individuals, the wellbeing of our communities, and the sustainability of our planet. Every chapter provides a detailed review of systemic resilience from one disciplinary perspective, drawing from cutting edge research and case studies. Together these chapters show that considering the resilience of multiple systems at once is instrumental to understanding the processes of change and sustainability.

Multisystemic Resilience (2021)

Multisystemic Resilience brings together for the first time in one volume a wide range of resilience scholars who have been wrestling with how to explain processes of recovery, adaptation and transformation in contexts of change and adversity. By placing side-by-side the writing of psychologists, epigeneticists, ecologists, architects, disaster specialists, engineers, sociologists and public health researchers (to name just a few of the professions represented in this innovative volume), this volume provides answers to questions like: How can we better understand and develop models that explain the dynamic interplay of resilience processes across systems (and at different scales within systems)? How can we study the resilience of multiple systems at one time across scales and over time? And how does the concept of multisystemic resilience help us generate scalable solutions to problems that threaten the physical and mental health of individuals, the wellbeing of their communities and the sustainability of our planet? Every chapter provides a detailed review of resilience from one disciplinary perspective, then uses examples drawn from research and detailed case studies to show that thinking about the resilience of multiple systems is a better way to understand the promotive and protective factors and processes that help systems withstand stress and be sustainable over time.

Working with Children and Youth with Complex Needs, 2nd Edition (2020)

This new edition of Working with Children and Youth with Complex Needs provides detailed descriptions of techniques, ample case studies, fascinating and easy to understand explanations of research, and rich stories of how social workers, psychologists, counselors, child and youth care workers, and other mental health professionals can help young people become more resilient.

Working with Children and Youth with Complex Needs, 2nd Edition (2020)

This new edition of Working with Children and Youth with Complex Needs provides detailed descriptions of techniques, ample case studies, fascinating and easy to understand explanations of research, and rich stories of how social workers, psychologists, counselors, child and youth care workers, and other mental health professionals can help young people become more resilient.

Change Your World (2019)

Dr. Ungar explores reals lives, across age and culture, and discovers that the answers lie in the people and the support systems around us. Supportive spouses, caring families, nurturing employers, and effective governments are very often the difference between individual success and failure. The good news is that it is easier to change your environment than it is to change yourself. Indeed, Dr. Ungar has solid evidence that we can influence the world around us in ways that will make us more resilient both at home and on the job.

Change Your World (2019)

Dr. Ungar explores reals lives, across age and culture, and discovers that the answers lie in the people and the support systems around us. Supportive spouses, caring families, nurturing employers, and effective governments are very often the difference between individual success and failure. The good news is that it is easier to change your environment than it is to change yourself. Indeed, Dr. Ungar has solid evidence that we can influence the world around us in ways that will make us more resilient both at home and on the job.

What Works Manual (2018)

What Works is an easy-to-use guide that is ideal for anyone working with children and families in social service or humanitarian settings, as well as community facilitators, counselors, and policy makers. It includes plenty of case examples of programs in both low-and-middle-income countries (where financial and human resources are scarce) and high-income countries (where resources are easier to find but problems can still be very complex).

While the manual is about programs designed for young people and their families, its 7-step model of program design will be just as useful in any setting where improving resilience is the goal.

What Works Manual (2018)

What Works is an easy-to-use guide that is ideal for anyone working with children and families in social service or humanitarian settings, as well as community facilitators, counselors, and policy makers. It includes plenty of case examples of programs in both low-and-middle-income countries (where financial and human resources are scarce) and high-income countries (where resources are easier to find but problems can still be very complex).

While the manual is about programs designed for young people and their families, its 7-step model of program design will be just as useful in any setting where improving resilience is the goal.

I Still Love You (2015)

This book for parents of children with serious emotional, psychological and behavioural challenges offers nine practical and effective strategies that parents can use to make children change troubling behaviours and become more resilient. Told as the story of three families that meet together weekly with Dr. Ungar at his office, each family’s struggles and successes are proof that with a little guidance and the power of unconditional love, any child can be helped to heal and reconnect.

I Still Love You (2015)

This book for parents of children with serious emotional, psychological and behavioural challenges offers nine practical and effective strategies that parents can use to make children change troubling behaviours and become more resilient. Told as the story of three families that meet together weekly with Dr. Ungar at his office, each family’s struggles and successes are proof that with a little guidance and the power of unconditional love, any child can be helped to heal and reconnect.

Youth Resilience and Culture (2015)

Until researchers and theorists account for the complex relationship between resilience and culture, explanations of why some individuals prevail in the face of adversity will remain incomplete. This edited volume addresses this crucial issue by bringing together emerging discussions of the ways in which culture shapes resilience, the theory that informs these various studies, and important considerations for researchers as they continue to investigate resilience.

Youth Resilience and Culture (2015)

Until researchers and theorists account for the complex relationship between resilience and culture, explanations of why some individuals prevail in the face of adversity will remain incomplete. This edited volume addresses this crucial issue by bringing together emerging discussions of the ways in which culture shapes resilience, the theory that informs these various studies, and important considerations for researchers as they continue to investigate resilience.

The Social Ecology of Resilience (2012)

This book provides evidence for the ecological understanding of resilience across cultures and contexts by showing an ecological interpretation that acknowledges the importance of people’s interactions with their environments and how these environments make resilience more likely to occur.

The Social Ecology of Resilience (2012)

This book provides evidence for the ecological understanding of resilience across cultures and contexts by showing an ecological interpretation that acknowledges the importance of people’s interactions with their environments and how these environments make resilience more likely to occur.

The Social Worker (2011)

Joey is not your typical social worker. He burns down houses to solve bureaucratic deadlocks, steals to get his clients bigger welfare cheques, and lies if it stops intrusion in young client’s lives. Joey’s plan for revenge against the system that failed him may have worked, except buried in old agency files are untold family secrets. Joey remembers all too well what it felt like to be a client. In and out of foster homes, his father dead, his mother an abusive emotional wreck, Joey put his talents as a juvenile delinquent to good use in secure custody.

The Social Worker (2011)

Joey is not your typical social worker. He burns down houses to solve bureaucratic deadlocks, steals to get his clients bigger welfare cheques, and lies if it stops intrusion in young client’s lives. Joey’s plan for revenge against the system that failed him may have worked, except buried in old agency files are untold family secrets. Joey remembers all too well what it felt like to be a client. In and out of foster homes, his father dead, his mother an abusive emotional wreck, Joey put his talents as a juvenile delinquent to good use in secure custody.

Counseling in Challenging Contexts (2011)

In this text, Michael Ungar introduces a new social ecological model designed to integrate the best of what we know about individual and family counseling and case management with practical applications of strengths-based interventions in clinical, community and institutional settings.

Counseling in Challenging Contexts (2011)

In this text, Michael Ungar introduces a new social ecological model designed to integrate the best of what we know about individual and family counseling and case management with practical applications of strengths-based interventions in clinical, community and institutional settings.

Researching Resilience (2009)

While categorization has always been prevalent in the social sciences, recent trends have tended to label various behaviours as disorders. Researching Resilience challenges this tendency to pathologize, and marks a profound shift in research methods from the study of disorder to the study of well-being.

Researching Resilience (2009)

While categorization has always been prevalent in the social sciences, recent trends have tended to label various behaviours as disorders. Researching Resilience challenges this tendency to pathologize, and marks a profound shift in research methods from the study of disorder to the study of well-being.

We Generation (2009)

Through inspiring stories taken from Dr. Ungar’s clinical work with children, youth, and families, and research gathered from around the world he shows how the close connections kids crave and the support that adults provide can help kids realize their full potential.

We Generation (2009)

Through inspiring stories taken from Dr. Ungar’s clinical work with children, youth, and families, and research gathered from around the world he shows how the close connections kids crave and the support that adults provide can help kids realize their full potential.

Resilience In Action (2008)

Mental health specialists and researchers contend that the development of resilience in youth is facilitated at several different levels; relational, cultural, individual and governmental. This book looks at youth interventions with a view to fostering resilience in those living in adverse situations and conditions.

Resilience In Action (2008)

Mental health specialists and researchers contend that the development of resilience in youth is facilitated at several different levels; relational, cultural, individual and governmental. This book looks at youth interventions with a view to fostering resilience in those living in adverse situations and conditions.

Too Safe for Their Own Good (2007)

If we think back to when we were young, didn’t risks and responsibilities help prepare us for the challenges we would face later in life? In this book, Dr. Ungar shares what he has learned from families who have found ways to provide their children with the right amount of risk and responsibility.

Too Safe for Their Own Good (2007)

If we think back to when we were young, didn’t risks and responsibilities help prepare us for the challenges we would face later in life? In this book, Dr. Ungar shares what he has learned from families who have found ways to provide their children with the right amount of risk and responsibility.

Playing at Being Bad (2007)

Our most troubled youth are far more resilient and healthy than we care to admit. If we take the time to listen to our children, we hear an entirely different story about their lives than the one we adults tell. Unlike many other books about difficult kids that reflect the wisdom of adults, this one explores the truth of adolescence.

Playing at Being Bad (2007)

Our most troubled youth are far more resilient and healthy than we care to admit. If we take the time to listen to our children, we hear an entirely different story about their lives than the one we adults tell. Unlike many other books about difficult kids that reflect the wisdom of adults, this one explores the truth of adolescence.

Strengths-Based Counseling with at Risk Youth (2006)

Author and social worker Michael Ungar takes a fresh, hopeful approach to challenging youth by looking beyond the surface of “bad” behaviours to understand them as a way at-risk youth cope with life’s adversities.

Strengths-Based Counseling with at Risk Youth (2006)

Author and social worker Michael Ungar takes a fresh, hopeful approach to challenging youth by looking beyond the surface of “bad” behaviours to understand them as a way at-risk youth cope with life’s adversities.

Handbook for Working with Children and Youth (2005)

This text examines lives lived well despite adversity. Calling upon some of the most progressive thinkers in the field, it presents a ground breaking collection of original writing on the theories, methods of study, and interventions that promote resilience.

Handbook for Working with Children and Youth (2005)

This text examines lives lived well despite adversity. Calling upon some of the most progressive thinkers in the field, it presents a ground breaking collection of original writing on the theories, methods of study, and interventions that promote resilience.

Nurturing Hidden Resilience in Troubled Youth (2004)

This is the first text in it’s field to examine resilience as a social construct; it offers a comprehensive theory of resilience and a model for the application of this theory to direct practice with high-risk youth in clinical, residential, and community settings.

Nurturing Hidden Resilience in Troubled Youth (2004)

This is the first text in it’s field to examine resilience as a social construct; it offers a comprehensive theory of resilience and a model for the application of this theory to direct practice with high-risk youth in clinical, residential, and community settings.

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Jan Höltge

Visiting Scholar

Jan Höltge is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Resilience Research Centre. Jan completed both his Bachelor in Psychology and Master in Environmental, Social and Clinical Psychology at the University of Vienna, Austria. He received his Ph.D. in Clinical and Positive Psychology at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. He has joined the Resilience Research Centre supported by the Early Postdoc.Mobility Scholarship granted by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Jan is passionately interested in how stressful circumstances can have positive effects on human life, especially resilience-enhancement, ranging from daily hassles to traumatic experiences. While taking a lifespan perspective, he has a focus on higher age, the long-term effects of early life stress and the positive effects of collective adversities on social values and behaviors. Additionally, he is interested in how the physical environment contributes to human resilience and wellbeing.

Michael Ungar

Director

Michael Ungar, Ph.D. is the founder and Director of the Resilience Research Centre at Dalhousie University. His ground-breaking work as a family therapist and resilience researcher is recognized around the world, with much of that work focused on the resilience of marginalized children and families, and adult populations experiencing mental health challenges at home and in the workplace. Dr. Ungar has provided consultation and training to Fortune 500 companies like Unilever and Cigna, NGOs such as Save The Children and the Red Cross, and educational institutions and government agencies on five continents. He is routinely called upon by thought leaders such as the Boston Consulting Group and Canvas8. His work emphasizes how to use the theory of resilience to increase both individual and institutional agility during crises, with numerous organizations having adopted his concept of resilience as a negotiated process that enhances wellbeing and social responsibility.


Dr. Ungar is the author of 18 books for lay and professional audiences, and over 200 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. These include Change Your World: The Science of Resilience and the True Path to Success, a book for adults experiencing stress at work and at home, and I Still Love You: Nine Things Trouble Teens Need from their Parents. His blog, Nurturing Resilience, can be read on Psychology Today’s website.

Sara Al-Gashm

Evaluation Manager

Sara Al-Gashm manages evaluation projects at the Resilience Research Centre at a national and international level, which integrate both quantitative and quasi-experimental pre and post-test methodology as well as qualitative methods. She brings interdisciplinary and cross-national training and experience to her position, along with an extensive research background in health and wellbeing across the lifespan. Sara received a Master’s degree in Global Health from McMaster University and a Bachelor’s degree in International Development Studies from Dalhousie University. She was granted the title of Leading First-Class Honours Student and is the recipient of the University Silver Medal from Dalhousie University. Sara holds publications in The Lancet and the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. She is fluent in three languages: English, Arabic and Tagalog. Her interests include monitoring and evaluation, results-based management, participatory research methods, and qualitative research.

Simone Chia-Kangata

Project Manager (CYRRC)

Simone Chia-Kangata joined the CYRRC as Project Manager in May 2017. Simone brings expertise in research and evaluation, project design, implementation and management, business management, knowledge mobilization and marketing. Simone has a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Public Administration from Concordia University and a Bachelor’s degree in International Development Studies from McGill University. She has worked in the public sector and NGO sector in Ottawa, the UK, Kenya, Somaliland and Nova Scotia.

Margherita Cameranesi

Killam Postdoctoral Fellow | Project Manager (RYSE)

Margherita joined the Resilience Research Centre as a Killam Postdoctoral Fellow and the Project Manager for the RYSE project. Following her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Rome La Sapienza (Italy), Margherita received her Ph.D. in Applied Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba (Canada). The overarching goal of Margherita’s program of research is to improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable, marginalized and underserved children, families and communities nationally and internationally by fostering their resilience to adversity. So far, her research has focused on various vulnerable populations, including families who experience intimate partner violence, Indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities. Margherita’s research expertise includes both quantitative and qualitative research approaches, as well as mixed methods research approaches.

Paul McGuinness

Operations Manager

Paul McGuinness is the Operations Manager for the Resilience Research Centre (RRC). Paul has an extensive corporate background in Information Technology, Administration, Finance and Business Development. Paul provides leadership and operational management of the RRC and is a key interaction point between the RRC and internal and external grant and management programs. The Research Operations Manager works collaboratively with all university departments, building and maintaining strategic working relationships in the administration of internal schemes, as well as maintaining a network of external stakeholders to support national and international competitive and contract research opportunities.

Haorui Wu

Research Fellow

Dr. Haorui Wu is Assistant Professor of Social Work and a research fellow in the Resilience Research Center at Dalhousie University.  His architecture-based interdisciplinary teaching, research, and emerging practice examine post-disaster reconstruction, recovery, and rehabilitation initiatives through the lens of environmental and social justice. He seeks to employ community-engaged planning and architectural strategies to strengthen built environment social missions, build social capital, enhance overall well-being, and advance community resilience in the context of global climate change, disaster, and other world crises. His research consists of (1) empowering local residents’ (especially the vulnerable and marginalized groups) leadership and supporting holistic well-being by advancing non-discriminatory civic engagement in community-based planning and architecture design; and (2) enhancing the humanitarian quality of post-disaster built environment to support community resilience and sustainability.

Chase Kodejs

Communications Specialist

Chase combines his creativity and technical skills to produce digestible content for websites, social media and events, while adhering to Resilience Research Center’s brand strategy. Chase Kodejs is a communications specialist with a demonstrated history of facilitating projects in the private sector with numerous firms. A keen focus and desire to learn allows Chase to continue to be up to date with latest digital trends and deliver products that are refined for the end user.

Brandon Mott

Communications Support

Brandon promotes content, shares stories, and facilitates conversation through audio visuals, event planning, and graphic design.  Brandon Mott is a communications specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the policy and research world, most notably at the Resilience Research Centre under the direction of Dr. Michael Ungar. Brandon is known for his knowledge sharing skills; crafting thoughts and ideas into digestible content. His degree in music marks a dedication to refining craft and an emphasized attention on creative detailing. This keen focus helps polish multimedia products, as seen in any of the numerous videos, reports, and websites he has produced.

Rena Vanstone

Research Assistant

Rena Vanstone is a research assistant at the Resilience Research Centre. She is currently completing an Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Sociology at Dalhousie, with minors in Psychology and English. Her research interests include youth resilience and wellbeing, as well as arts-based methodology and interventions.

Marlee Jordan

Research Assistant

Marlee Jordan has an academic background in Criminology; she received a BA (Honours) and MA from Saint Mary’s University with the majority of her work focusing on the forensic mental health population. Her MA thesis was written on experiences in supported housing of people found Not Criminally Responsible in Halifax, N.S. Her other research interests include community-based services for people with mental health issues, addictions, and criminal justice involvement; youth education internationally, and community development. She is currently focused on gaining experience in research and program evaluation, otherwise she can be found hiking with her dogs, reading, or planning her next big trip.

Igor Pekelny

Research Assistant

Igor Pekelny is a research associate at the Resilience Research Centre, Dalhousie University and the Sociology/Criminology Department, Saint Mary’s University, with experience in mixed methods project evaluation, online survey design and implementation, and crime prevention program design and management. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology (Magna Cum Laude) and Psychology (Magna Cum Laude) and now pursuing his Master of Arts in Criminology, all from Saint Mary’s University.

Chantale Comeau

Research Assistant

Chantale Comeau received a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Criminology from Saint Mary’s University, and has completed a Master of Arts in Criminology & Sociolegal Studies at the University of Toronto set to graduate in November 2018. Chantale will be returning to school to pursue a Masters in Public Administration at Dalhousie University in efforts to obtain the skills necessary for a career in justice policy.

Daniel Blais

Research Assistant

Daniel Blais is a research and evaluation associate with the Resilience Research Centre and Wisdom2Action network. With an interest in cultural sociology and a background in youth care and advocacy, Blais has an interest in program evaluation that applies mixed methods research and evidence-based practices. While completing the written requirement for an MA in Sociology (forthcoming) from York University on the topic of professionalization, Daniel has worked with the RRC-ETI and W2A on projects focusing on youth program evaluation, public policy development, opioid addictions, and youth resilience.

Publications

Use the buttons below to navigate through our books & special issues, book chapters and peer reviewed journal articles.

Books & Special Issues

Book Chapters

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

Philip Jefferies

Research Fellow

Dr. Philip Jefferies is a research fellow at the Resilience Research Centre. Following his PhD and teaching/research posts in the UK, Ireland, and Fiji, Phil joined the Centre to support the RYSE project. He now conducts resilience research with challenged populations around the world to understand how some do well despite adversity, and helped to develop the Centre’s evidence-based resilience building intervention ‘R2’, which is now used by organisations worldwide.