TC’s George Bonanno Featured in New Yorker story | Teachers College Columbia University

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The New Yorker features research on resilience by TC’s George Bonanno


The work of George Bonanno, TC Professor of Psychology and Education, figures prominently in “How People Learn to Become Resilient,” an article in the February 11, 2016 edition of The New Yorker by writer Maria Konnikova. Konnikova explores the concept of resilience—the ability of individuals to succeed, even thrive, despite incredibly difficult circumstances—and how it has evolved through decades of research by leading psychologists in the field. That evolution includes a shift in research focus from vulnerability to “protective factors: the elements of an individual’s background or personality that could enable success despite the challenges they faced.” Bonanno, who heads TC’s Loss, Trauma and Emotion Lab and the College’s recently launched Resilience Center for Veterans and Families, has overturned conventional wisdom by showing that most people are resilient in the face of trauma.  

"One of the central elements of resilience, Bonanno has found, is perception: Do you conceptualize an event as traumatic, or as an opportunity to learn and grow? ‘Events are not traumatic until we experience them as traumatic,’” Bonanno says. “‘To call something a ‘traumatic event’ belies that fact.’”

Read the New Yorker story here.

Read about the launch of the Resilience Center for Veterans and Families at Teachers College.

Read a profile of Bonanno here.

Read more about Bonanno’s most recent work.

Watch a clip of Bonanno from TC’s web series, Mini Moments with Big Thinkers.

Published Friday, Feb 12, 2016

 George Bonanno
George Bonanno, Professor of Clinical Psychology