Defining Our Terms

Personal resilience is the process of adapting and recovering from adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress. It is an ongoing, life-long learning process. Similarly, community resilience is the sustained ability of a community to respond to, withstand, and recover from adverse situations.

Radical resilience integrates social and healing justice into this work by recognizing and addressing historical institutional barriers and systems of oppression. A radical resilience approach recognizes self- and collective-care as acts of resistance to disconnection, marginalization, and internalized oppression (Pyles, Healing Justice). Radical resilience is both a paradigm and a set of practices. It is an approach that recognizes the power of self-compassion, purposeful actions, intentional connections, and healing past trauma. Radical resilience is an invitation to make conscious choices and develop meaningful relationships. Radical resilience is an approach that values and nurtures community. Radical resilience invites practitioners to bring their attention, care, and healing capacities to the ways that lived experiences manifest in our bodies, minds, and spirits as well as our communities. 

Core Concepts

Social and Healing Justice

Recognizing and addressing imbalances of power, structural inequities, historical institutional barriers, systems of oppression, and healing past trauma. Bringing about social change as a form of resilience.



Self-compassion and self-care are acts of resistance to disconnection, marginalization, and internalized oppression. Challenging our notions of failure.


Purposeful Action

Understanding that we have the power to learn and grow, and calling on our ability to change and adapt to meet new challenges, we can look for opportunities for self-discovery. We can take deliberative and collective actions that reframe or restructure our approach. Understanding how to navigate and thrive within our "growth zone". 


Harnessing Strengths

Taking an asset-based approach that recognizes and harnesses our capacities and capabilities. Working to develop a positive view of ourselves, recognizing our strengths and abilities. Finding purpose and meaning in life.


Community and Belonging

Building and supporting existing social networks of support. Affirming that we belong. Noting that caring relationships provide a stable and supportive foundation for building capacity and strengthening resilience. Recognizing that we all need to be cared for and supported by others and that we also benefit from caring for and supporting others.


Collective Care and Support

Ensuring resources exist, are readily available, and accessible. Encouraging help-seeking by creating a community where it is ok (even expected) that you will ask for help and receive it. Cultivating a community of care and respect.

Adapted from the University of Toronto.