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The Essence of Resilience: Stories of Triumph over Trauma by Tanya Lauer & Kathleen Parrish

The Essence of Resilience: Stories of Triumph over Trauma by Tanya Lauer & Kathleen Parrish

Tanya Lauer, MA, LPC, has worked in psychiatric hospitals, in-home therapy services, and outpatient trauma centers. Kathleen Parrish, MA, LPC, has spoken at conferences in the US and Europe, has worked in private practice, and has provided trauma intervention services. Both Lauer and Parrish are counselors at the internationally renowned Arizona treatment center Cottonwood Tucson, and together they have over forty years of combined experience in treating people with trauma, which sparked the idea for their book: The Essence of Resilience: Stories of Triumph over Trauma.


According to the authors, trauma is “experiencing, witnessing or being confronted by an event or events that pose a threat of death, injury or sexual violation.” The important part of trauma therapy, as Lauer and Parrish know all too well, is allowing survivors of trauma to speak out and to feel safe. 


Each story in The Essence of Resilience is a testament to the strength of those faced with such difficult obstacles:


  • Amanda, who navigated addiction and issues of intimacy when she learned she was adopted
  • Henry, who was sexually abused by a family member
  • Melissa, who felt a strong lack of love, attention, and care from her parents
  • Jim, who witnessed his father’s suicide attempt




These are just a few of the stories readers will find in Lauer and Parrish’s book, which focuses on issues like trust, finding one’s voice, responsibility, gratitude, humor, vulnerability, compassion, and hope. There’s even a story about animal-assisted therapy, two very special animals, and how they helped a rape survivor. Each chapter in The Essence of Resilience hones in on one of these issues and features an introduction that discusses how each element is related to the promotion and development of resilience. 


Lauer and Parrish believe that storytelling is a cathartic and healing experience that is especially important for trauma survivors, who are constantly shaming and abusing themselves through damaged internal narratives. Telling a story, the authors state, is reclaiming personal power—this is what’s at the core of recovery from trauma. The Essence of Resilience is a book of stories that offers inspiration and hope to readers suffering from trauma and provides an in-depth look at the innate power everyone has to overcome, to persevere, and to move forward. 


“For the readers of this book, be advised, the stories here will be hard to read. In truth, they were hard to write. At times, you may want to put the book down and walk away. That is okay, but pick it back up again and continue reading. Although you will read about trauma, loss, heartbreak, tragedy, and betrayal, you will also read about the strength and determination of the beautiful survivors who are honored here within these pages. You will read about the people who fought back, who refused to quit, who forgave and overcame unspeakable horrors.”


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