By Lindsey R. Monger
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Maryland — As part of their monthly resiliency training, the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, or ATEC, and its Master Resiliency Trainers, conducted training on ‘Detecting Icebergs’ and ‘Put it in Perspective’ at their headquarters building May 5 on Aberdeen Proving Ground.
The Master Resiliency Trainers who conducted the training, Sgt. 1st Class Travis Griffith and Daniel Grifo, both graduated from the Master Resiliency Training Level I Course in March.
The resiliency training, a part of the Army’s Ready and Resilient Campaign, or R2C, and its Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness Program, or CSF2, is designed to build resilience and enhance the performance of the Army Family by providing the hands-on training and self-development tools needed to aid them in coping with adversity and improving their performance during stressful situations.
Griffith, a military evaluator at ATEC, started the session by comparing the resilience skill, ‘Detecting Icebergs’, to an individual’s core values and beliefs.
“The iceberg above the water’s surface is what we see and observe, but what we don’t see is the iceberg hidden beneath the water’s surface,” said Griffith. “This is where you will find a person’s core values and beliefs.”
According to Griffith, the skills taught during the ‘Detecting Icebergs’ resiliency training are effective tools Soldiers, Army civilians and their Families can use to boost their self-awareness and help them maintain control over the negative emotions and reactions tough circumstances can produce.
“Usually, during heat-of-the-moment situations (activating events), an individual will have thoughts that are out-of-sync with their emotions or reactions (consequences), which will result in a thought/consequence disconnect — also known as an iceberg,” Griffith said. “At that time, they should have identified the iceberg and started to ask themselves the critical ‘what’ questions instead of the negative ‘why’ questions.”
Griffith explained that asking the ‘what’ questions forces people to think more critically about the situation, while asking ‘why’ questions leads them to become defensive instead.
As part of the training, the participants broke out into small groups to share their own personal experiences of an activating event, the thoughts they had during them, and any negative or positive consequences that resulted from those thoughts. Participants were also able to evaluate and critique themselves on how well they felt they had handled the situations.
Grifo, an officer strength manager at ATEC, started the second half of the resiliency session by explaining the importance of the skill ‘Put it in Perspective’, or PIIP.
“PIIP helps you build optimism,” Grifo said. “The goal of PIIP is to lower anxiety so you can accurately assess the situation and deal with it.”
Grifo explained that one of the worst things you can do is to catastrophize a situation.
“Catastrophizing is when you waste critical energy ruminating about the irrational worst case outcomes of a situation,” said Grifo. “Doing so could possibly prevent you from taking the purposeful action that’s necessary.”
“Being involved in an ambiguous situation; having something that is highly valued at stake; feeling mentally or physically run down or emotionally drained or depleted; having pre-existing fears about a particular situation; or engaging in something for the very first time, are just a few examples of the types of incidents that can trigger catastrophic thoughts.” said Grifo.
According to the CSF2 website, putting situations into their proper perspectives involves the following five steps: describing activating events; capturing worst case thoughts; generating best case thoughts; identifying most likely outcomes; and developing plans for dealing with most likely outcomes.
During the training session, each participant had an opportunity to work with a partner who helped them develop strategies and solutions for working through situations that could potentially cause them to catastrophize.
ATEC will host a make-up session for the ‘Detecting Icebergs’ and ‘Put it in Perspective’ resiliency training Thursday, May 19 at 9 a.m. at their headquarters building.
To get more information about ATEC’s Ready and Resilient Program, visit http://www.atec.army.mil/r2c. To learn more about the Army’s R2C, visit www.army.mil.readyandresilient.