All About Adversity, What it is and How it Can Impact People’s Lives

Adversity in the workplace - staff evaculatijg a smoke-filled office

What is Adversity?

Adversity in the context of psychology and counselling, refers to any experience a person encounters that they find difficult to cope with or that produces unwanted effects in later life.

What makes any given experience adverse is mainly down to individual interpretation, although there are undoubtedly some experiences that most of us would recognise as being adverse.

For example, losing a parent as a youngster is almost certainly going to be emotionally difficult as is the loss of a child for a parent.

However, even in cases like these, where we might reasonably expect everybody to respond in the same way (negatively), it would be over-generalising to state it as a fact.

Although we tend to think of adversity as always being negative, it is also a key component in the development of resilience.

The more you face difficult or challenging situations, the more likely you are to develop the skills needed to cope.


Types of Adversity

Adversity, as we have already seen, is subjective in nature so what one person calls adverse, another might disregard.

Adversity can be broken down into different categories such as:

  • Existential – having a life threatening experience.
  • Economic – being unable to afford the basic cost of living.
  • Social – being excluded by your social group.
  • Cultural – being excluded by your culture.
  • Psychological – experiencing abuse.

All of these different types of adversity are KNOWN to be associated with mental health problems.

Adversity as a Cause of Mental Health Problems

We can say, with a fair degree of confidence, that most mental health problems are the result of experiencing adversity of one type or another.

When we have a negative experience it is understandable that we would seek to develop strategies designed to help us avoid similar experiences in the future.

However, this pattern of behaviour can also result in the use of strategies designed to cope with adversity even long after the adverse situation has dissipated.

Free initial consultations for adversity

Arrange your FREE initial consultation here.

If you’d like to find out more about overcoming adversity or recovering from any of your mental health problems then why not arrange a free initial consultation with us.

During this consultation we will discuss your particular issues and the different types of mental health counselling we offer (including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – CBT) without you having to commit to any counselling going forward.

The consultation lasts around 50 minutes and is a great opportunity to meet with either Paul or Joan and decide if you would like to proceed with any support.


Applied Psychology Solutions

If you’d like to learn how to overcome adversity but dislike the idea of having “therapy”, then why not learn how to change the way you make sense of your experiences and the World around you with the CORE Programme.

If you believe that your problems are the result of what has happened to you and not because there is something wrong with you, then this is the solution you’ve been looking for.