MICHAEL UNGAR

Michael Ungar

EXPERT ON ADULT RESILIENCE IN THE WORKPLACE, RAISING RESILIENT KIDS and IMPROVING RESLIENCE PROFESSIONALLY AND PERSONALLY

Michael Ungar

Michael Ungar, Ph.D., is a Family Therapist and Professor of Social Work at Dalhousie University where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Child, Family and Community Resilience.

His ground-breaking work is recognized around the world and includes consultation and training with Fortune 500 companies like Unilever and Cigna, as well as 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 businesses and NGOs adopting his concept of resilience as a negotiated process that enhances employee and client wellbeing and corporate social responsibility.

Dr. Ungar has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on the subject of resilience and is the author of 17 books for mental health professionals, researchers and parents. 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 Multisystemic Resilience: Adaptation and Transformation in Contexts of Change, an edited volume with contributors from a dozen diverse disciplines ranging from epigenetics and psychology to architecture and computing science.

His blog, Nurturing Resilience, can be read on Psychology Today’s website.

    Topics 
  1. Resilience at Home and on the Job: Maintaining Our Capacity to Cope During Times of Change and Challenge*  

    *This presentation can be adapted to address the changes in people’s lives caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or other major disaster/stressor.

    Studies of resilience are showing that our ability to cope with change is not just about having the right personal qualities (for example, being a rugged individual). It is much more about being a resourced individual with the right supports necessary to cope with crises. In this inspiring, story-filled presentation, Dr. Ungar will use his research from around the world and examples from his new book Change Your World: The Science of Resilience and the True Path to Success to explore twelve factors that are critical to the resilience of employees and employers. In the second part of Dr. Ungar’s presentation, he will show that which factors matter most always depends on the kind of stress we experience and the quality of the physical and social environments we experience around us. A number of innovative strategies to improve resilience will also be shared in ways that the audience can use immediately.

    AUDIENCE: Adults

  2. Helping those Who Help Nurture and Maintain Their Resilience - Avoiding Burn out

    Sustaining our resilience as professional helpers can be a challenge during times of change. Based on Dr. Ungar’s research around the world and his clinical practice, this presentation uses examples from his new book Change Your World: The Science of Resilience and the True Path to Success to explore how those who help others can avoid burnout and maintain their own career and life resilience when stressors pile up at home and on the job. Twelve factors that make us more resilient as adults will be discussed, along with practical tools participants can use to find the resources they need to cope successfully in culturally and contextually relevant ways. Using the concepts of navigation and negotiation that are key to understanding resilience in complex, changing environments, audience members will have an opportunity to reflect on their own resilience in life, as well as times at work and at home where they had the resources they needed to succeed. Finally, Dr. Ungar will talk about vicarious resilience, the positive impact we experience as helpers when we nurture resilience in others.

     Audience: Adults

  3. Nurturing Resilience: Nine Ways Families, Schools, and Communities can Help Children Thrive  

    In this fast-paced, story-filled presentation, Dr. Ungar will show that our children’s resilience is much more than their individual ability to overcome adversity. It is just as much the result of how well their families, schools and communities work together to help vulnerable young people navigate their way to the resources they need for wellbeing, and whether those resources are made available to children in ways children experience as meaningful. In addition to exploring what resilience means to children from many different backgrounds, Dr. Ungar will also provide nine practical strategies parents, caregivers and educators can use to help children heal, no matter a child’s emotional, psychological or behavioral problems.

    Specific learning objectives for this presentation are:

    1.  To understand how children and families with complex needs use “problem” behaviours to enhance their resilience and wellbeing when more socially acceptable solutions are not available;
    2. To become familiar with how to assess resilience;
    3. To learn about nine resilience-promoting resources necessary for positive child development;
    4. To develop strategies for working without resistance with hard-to-reach, culturally diverse children, adolescents, and their families;
    5. To discuss ways services can be structured for children and families that make resilience more likely to occur.

    Audience: For Parents/Caregivers/Educators

     

  4. The Risk-Taker’s Advantage: How to Make Our Kids More Resilient

    As both a family therapist and a world-renowned researcher on resilience, Michael Ungar has noticed that many families and schools have become so overprotective that children never have a chance to develop the normal coping strategies children need for independent lives. Though the stats tell us that children today are safer than ever before in history, parents are failing to give them what Michael has called ‘the risk-taker’s advantage.’ The results are a generation of bubblewrapped kids with anxiety disorders, an inflated sense of entitlement, or misguided efforts to find their own rites of passage into adulthood, often with catastrophic results.

    Based on his best-selling book, Too Safe For Their Own Good, Michael shows us how to help families and schools stop being overprotective and provide kids with what they need to grow up well. You can expect:

    • A very amusing, and at times, shocking presentation that debunks common myths regarding the things that put children at risk.
    • Practical ways educators, life coaches and therapists can help families and schools reconsider children’s developmental needs and offer them more risk and responsibility.
    • To laugh and be inspired by stories of schools and communities that have helped parents give their children the risk-taker’s advantage.

    Audience: For Parents/Caregivers/Educators

  5. Diagnosing” Resilience Across Cultures and Contexts: Seeing the Positives in Young People Even When There are Serious Problems  

    With growing interest in resilience among mental health care providers, there is a need for a simple way to think about the complex interactions that predict which children will do well despite the seriousness of the challenges they face.

    A focus on resilience helps us to understand children’s individual adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies, as well as the social and physical ecologies that facilitate processes associated with resilience. Using case examples of children who have been exposed to high levels of adversity such as family violence, mental illness of a child or caregiver, natural disasters, forced migration, poverty, racism and other types of social marginalization and political conflict, Michael will show how we can assess childhood resilience and use that assessment to guide practice.

    He will show that by “diagnosing” resilience, we are in a better position to design interventions that are sensitive to the individual, family, school and community factors that influence a child’s wellbeing. Seven factors common to children who cope well under adversity and avoid problems like depression, PTSD, and delinquency will be discussed. This presentation will also explore ways we can intervene to help children cope by changing the social and physical environments that surround them.

     Audience: Mental Health Professionals, Educators

     

  6. The Successful Millennial: Strategies for Building the Resilience of Young Adults at Work and at Home

    Millennials are changing the way we think about employment, home ownership, the meaning of family and our relationship with the environment.

    Those changes, and many more, have been disruptive, but they have also led to better ways to pursue careers, live sustainably, and make workplaces and communities more participatory. Building on his research on resilience and clinical work with young adults around the world, Dr. Michael Ungar will explore the innovative strategies millennials use to find the psychological and social resources they need to realize their talents and make a genuine and meaningful contribution in their workplaces and communities. Among the most common strategies Dr. Ungar has identified are navigation, exploration and drifting, each an effective way young people maximize their access to a dozen personal and social resources required for success. These resources range from the need for a reasonable amount of structure to opportunities to form new and enduring relationships, powerful identities, fair treatment, a sense of belonging, and financial self-sufficiency.

    Though millennials have been stereotyped as frustrating to work with, they are in fact keen to make a contribution when workplaces offer the right amount of challenge and responsibility. In this presentation, Dr. Ungar offers a candid look at both the good and bad things that make millennials unique, while offering an optimistic approach to helping them become more resilient on and off the job.

  7. Change your World: The Science of Resilience and the True Path to Success

    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.

  8. Building Resilient Schools and Communities: Making Resources Available for Young People and Their Families

    Throughout this fast-paced, story-filled presentation, Dr. Ungar will show that resilience is much more than a child’s personal capacity to overcome adversity. It is instead a reflection of how well families, schools, service providers and communities work together to create opportunities for children and youth to navigate their way to the resources they need for well-being while making those resources available in ways that young people experience as meaningful. Using lively case examples and video of children across the United States and around the world who have been exposed to adversities such as family violence, mental illness of a caregiver, natural disasters, poverty, and racism, Dr. Ungar will demonstrate how we can design interventions that enhance children’s access to nine resources essential for resilience and mental health. Dr. Ungar’s work suggests the need for a culturally sensitive interpretation of what resilience means to children and their families from diverse backgrounds. His presentation will end with concrete examples of how communities have made resilience-promoting resources readily available to children and youth with complex needs.

    Specifically, the learning objectives for this keynote are:

    1. To deepen our understanding of how social and physical environments enhance resilience;
    2. To become familiar with nine resilience-enabling factors that communities can improve in young people’s lives;
    3. To learn how to develop the supports that build resilience;
    4. To explore ways to show cultural sensitivity when developing resilience-promoting programs.

    Audience: Community/School/Organizational Resilience

  9. Building Resilient Schools and Communities: Making Resources Available for Young People and Their Families

    Throughout this fast-paced, story-filled presentation, Dr. Ungar will show that resilience is much more than a child’s personal capacity to overcome adversity. It is instead a reflection of how well families, schools, service providers and communities work together to create opportunities for children and youth to navigate their way to the resources they need for well-being while making those resources available in ways that young people experience as meaningful. Using lively case examples and video of children across the United States and around the world who have been exposed to adversities such as family violence, mental illness of a caregiver, natural disasters, poverty, and racism, Dr. Ungar will demonstrate how we can design interventions that enhance children’s access to nine resources essential for resilience and mental health. Dr. Ungar’s work suggests the need for a culturally sensitive interpretation of what resilience means to children and their families from diverse backgrounds. His presentation will end with concrete examples of how communities have made resilience-promoting resources readily available to children and youth with complex needs.

    Specifically, the learning objectives for this keynote are:

    1. To deepen our understanding of how social and physical environments enhance resilience;
    2. To become familiar with nine resilience-enabling factors that communities can improve in young people’s lives;
    3. To learn how to develop the supports that build resilience;
    4. To explore ways to show cultural sensitivity when developing resilience-promoting programs.

    Audience: Community/School/Organizational Resilience

  10. Nurturing Resilience through a Strong [Community/Organization]*

    *This presentation can be adapted to different settings, ranging from businesses and not-for-profits, to communities as a whole.

    Throughout this fast-paced, story-filled presentation, Dr. Ungar will show that resilience is much more than our personal capacity to overcome adversity. It is instead a reflection of how well individuals, families, employers and communities work together to create opportunities for people to navigate their way to the resources they need for well-being while making those resources available in ways that people experience as meaningful. His work around the world suggests the need for a culturally sensitive interpretation of what resilience means to people from diverse backgrounds living in diverse communities. Dr. Ungar will end with ideas for how [communities/organizations] can make resilience-promoting resources more available and accessible to everyone.

    Audience: Community/School/Organizational Resilience

Testimonials: 
I have come to appreciate even more your ability to share your work with a diversity of audiences. I admired how you were able to take the solid science on resiliency and present it in different ways to the two audiences. Your Monday evening presentation was engaging, often very funny, and so accessible. Then, on Tuesday, you took similar content (although there was no repetition for those of us who heard you twice!) and again present it in a way that acknowledged the science in an accessible way.
Dawne Clark
Professor, Child and Youth Studies & Director, Centre for Child Well-Being, Mount Royal University
Dr. Ungar was well received by all of our staff – bus drivers to teachers to Central Office personnel! He promoted a lot of thought and engaged the crowd via his stories and answers to questions from the group. Thanks so much for all of your team’s support in making our morning of learning a success!
Superintendent of Learning
Living Sky School Division
Michael Ungar's presentation was fantastic and very informative - I will most definitely be looking into his research - it was so fascinating and relevant!
Student Services Conference
University of British Columbia
Michael Ungar is an engaging speaker! I enjoyed his use of humor and personal stories while weaving in the resilience research.
Student Services Conference
University of British Columbia
Dr. Ungar is an engaging presenter, concise and presents material in an accessible format. His style is very engaging and the material he presented was incredibly relevant to me as an advisor, and as a parent.
Student Services Conference
University of British Columbia

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