Establishment of the Stress Research Unit
Derek Roger became interested in what it was that seemed to protect some people from stress while making others more vulnerable, and answering this question led to the establishment of the internationally-renowned Stress Research Unit at the University of York in England.
Contradictory Results – Paradigm Shift
Derek was interested to know why some people were more vulnerable to becoming stressed than others. The research focused on differences in emotional style, especially whether or not people expressed the emotion they felt and whether or not they worried about issues before they had happened and went on worrying about them afterwards. The studies showed clearly that ruminating about emotional upset before and after events not only sustains all of the emotional feelings but also continues to trigger the physiological response to the distress that occurred at the time. This leads to sustained levels of 'fight or flight' hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which when prolonged place an unnecessary demand on the cardiovascular and immune systems. These results contradicted traditional beliefs about stress and resilience, and have been recognised as a significant paradigm shift.
In the early 1980s Derek worked with the North Yorkshire Police Force to develop a practical training programme based on this research, and this resulted in the core Challenge of Change (CoC) Resilience training programme. Being an active researcher meant that the effectiveness of the training could be rigorously tested and evidence from carefully controlled studies showed significant changes in health, performance and sickness-absence that were sustained over 18-month follow-ups. Around this time Derek established The Work Skills Centre, a consultancy to market and deliver The CoC Resilience training programme. Click here for the North Yorkshire Police Case Study.
The CoC Resilience training programme quickly became established in the UK and was widely implemented there in a range of public and private sector companies. In addition to Derek himself, there are five accredited trainers offering the programme across the UK. The implementation of the Resilience programme in New Zealand has shown similarly strong growth, and the training will continue to be offered there by Cynthia Johnson and Dr. Peter Blyde, both of whom have been fully accredited to offer the Resilience programme. Since 2013 the Challenge of Change Resilience programmes have been integrated into the leadership development programmes at the Centre for Creative Leadership in the USA. There is also another team of trained facilitators based throughout the USA offering the programme to American organisations. Read more about this work here.
If like a growing number of leading NZ organisations you would like to benefit from The Challenge of Change, then why wait?