CUPS Corner: Building Resilience


Welcome back to CUPS Corner! Last month we talked about how CUPS uses the principles of Brain Science and our knowledge of brain development to prevent and mitigate the negative impacts of trauma. This month we are following up on our discussion of trauma with the exciting topic of resilience!

One lesson we have learned over 30 years at CUPS, is that everyone has different life experiences and that these experiences, along with a multitude of factors, both individual and systemic, influence how a person reacts to their circumstances. A person’s resilience, defined by the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative (AFWI) as “the ability to respond positively in the face of adversity”, plays a central role in how they respond to trauma. This video here from the AFWI provides an excellent overview of the concept of resilience and overcoming adversity.

Hours of direct client work at CUPS, paired with the literature around resilience, have led us to explore what types of support we can offer to build resilience and achieve better outcomes for our clients. As a result, we know that individuals need support based on their individual needs and strengths when they come to CUPS. Therefore, we attempt to understand the complex picture of an individual’s health and well-being and use this knowledge to provide programs and services that build resilience over time.

Here is Senior Director, Robert Perry, to talk about how we use the Resiliency Matrix at CUPS:

Our learnings and experience led us to develop the CUPS Resiliency Matrix which is a Brain Story-based assessment tool that helps us figure out what support clients need when they come to CUPS and how effective that support is over time. The picture of our Resiliency Matrix below shows how we approach our client’s needs and efforts to build support across four areas of resilience: Economic, Social-Emotional, Health, and Developmental.

When a client comes to CUPS for the first time, we sit down with them to complete an intake and go through the Resiliency Matrix. This tool supports our approach to integrated care by helping us determine what set of services and programs a client needs. Clients then complete a follow up Resiliency Matrix Assessment at six-month intervals to track their progress.

Not only does the Resiliency Matrix give us an accurate picture of what support a client needs, it helps us to be more effective in applying and contributing to ongoing research on the science of building healthy brain architecture and resilience. Our goal is to change the trajectory of individuals and families by effectively building resilience for generations to come.

Stay tuned, next month we will jump further into the discussion around using research to make a great impact within our community!



We could not do the work we do at CUPS without the unwavering support of our partners. The Community Partner Spotlight highlights a partner that has been instrumental in helping us make a larger impact in our community.

PARTNER OF THE MONTH: University of Calgary- Karen Benzies

For over a decade, Dr. Karen Benzies has worked alongside CUPS. Through her rich literature, she has developed numerous publications for CUPS in which 10 were written about CUPS child development programs. During her recent experiences at CUPS, Dr. Benzies was a co-supervisor for testing the reliability of the Resiliency Matrix alongside Ds. Dolinar and Ginn. Her extensive knowledge and research have been integrated to improve the health and well-being of young children and their families, but most importantly help build resilience for life. From CUPS, we thank you for all of the work you have done, and continue to do.

 Interested in getting involved at CUPS? Click here.

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