Some life experiences may not have this duality and the client's frame is to be honored. This intervention is not a simplistic generality, nor a "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade" cliché. As reflected in the Japanese proverb "The other side has another side," all sides of the narrative are to be honored. Therapists need to be aware of their countertransference to narratives of abuse or other difficulties and only utilize such an exercise for sound clinical reasons: i.e., supporting clients' awareness of both sides of life experience to enhance their functioning. For this reason, some therapists may feel that this structured intervention is more appropriate to a working phase of group, when both members and leader(s) have sufficient experience with one another to create depth in processing.

However, the timing of the intervention would vary depending on the severity of trauma experienced by clients. With traumatized clients, this intervention is recommended only within a longer-term framework and in the working phase of group when the pain of the experience has been acknowledged sufficiently that clients have been validated. The intervention also requires a level of intellectual and emotional functioning allowing for a conceptual holding of duality in human life.

In order to fully utilize the strengths of this intervention, a theoretical schema including resiliency must be integrated by the therapist. In some instances, therapists fluent in asking questions about difficulty may not be as skilled at exploring resiliencies. Clinicians may find useful models for exploring the behaviorally specific aspects of resiliencies through the lifespan in Wolin, S.J. and Wolin, S. (1993) and online at their Web site Project Resilience.


Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. American Psychologist, 56, 218-226.

Fredrickson, B. L„ Mancuso, R. A., Branigan, C., & Tugade, M. M. (2000). The undoing effect of positive emotions. Motivation and Emotion, 24, 237-258. Hemingway, E. (1929). A farewell to arms. New York: Scribner. Polster, M. (1992). Eve's daughters: The forbidden heroism of women. New York: Jossey-Bass.

Valliant, G. E. (1995). Adaptation to life. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. Werner, E.E. & Smith, R.S. (1992). Overcoming the odds: High risk children from birth to adulthood. New York: Cornell University Press. Wolin, S. J. & Wolin. S. (1993). The Resilient Self: How survivors of troubled families rise above adversity. New York: Villard Books. (Sections on resiliencies and resiliency mandala retrieved 5/31/07 from concepts.htm.)

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