Strength-based therapy is a ‘work practice theory’. It focuses on individuals’ strengths, dedication, and self-determination and helps them rely on these strengths in the difficult situations.
This approach is individual-led and focused on results in the future individual’s set of strengths. It approaches individuals to build their own strength instead of finding solutions for the present deficits and minorities. Changes are seen in individuals by using positivity and how they handle their own:
- Attitude and attribute toward life and one’s dignity
- Privileges and liberties
- Values and views
This approach depends majorly on the individual’s thought process, mental status, emotional processing, and perception of information. It allows us to communicate and think in wide dimensions.
Strength doesn’t always mean to be self-resilient and encompassed towards positivity, but it also involves skills, characteristics that shows who they are. For instance, fostering is a skill, while benevolence and affection that underlie it are character strengths.
This approach can be used together with other techniques like, cognitive-behavioral therapy, humanistic therapy, narrative therapy, interpersonal therapy, solution-focused therapy, brief motivational interviewing therapy, etc.
Principles of Strength-Based Therapy
- Everyone possesses character strength: Each individual holds his distinct traits that denotes his or her character and affects his life accomplishments including his capacities, beliefs, and core strengths.
- Each individual is narrator of his story himself: It helps the person become aware of their outlook and language and the therapist can help the person reframe the way they view themselves and life.
- Words matter: Be mindful of the language and the words used.
- Flexibility: Be synergetic, be adaptive and recognize and appreciate the differences.
- What we focus on is what grows: Acknowledge the fact that capacity development has different aspects and orientation.
- Working with others: Accept the versatility of life and the world and try to fit accordingly instead of resisting.
What Can a Strength-based Approach Help With?
Strength-based therapy in conjunction with other interventions can help people with specific conditions and issues including:
- Schizoaffective disorder
- Substance use and abuse
- Low self-esteem
- Emotional difficulties
- Youth with disabilities or Chronic illness
Interventions Used for Strength-based Therapy
Every Therapist has personal way of assessing, analyzing and planning the treatment protocol for an individual. There are certain set criteria for the strength-based approach to follow in order to know details about the persons traits, views and opinions. These include:
- Identifying Client Strengths
- Looking for Signs of Strengths
- Strengths Journaling
- Solution Focused Therapy (SFT)
- Strength-based Case management
- Family Support Services
Benefits Of Strength-based Therapy
Positive psychology changes the traditional therapy narrative from “What do we need to fix about you?” to “What is the good that is already in you, and how can we bring that out?”
- Focusing on strengths rather than problems. It surely impacts the mindset of the person and helps him build a new mindset.
- Primary goal of the therapy is Resilience. It is improved as well as the other functioning of the person in their family, community and surrounding.
- Awareness of vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Person gets to know about himself more during the interaction.
- Client driven and relationship-minded tactics used. The interventions used are individualized and have additional benefits.
- Builds self-esteem and competence.
- Enables understanding of what and what cannot be controlled.
- Learn how to set goals, expectations, and be cooperative in a productive method fostering growth.
- Learn interpersonal skills, to seek help or assistance when needed and to support others.
Efficacy of the Model
Efficiency of any approach is measured with the results gained afterwards. And strength-based therapy has been found one of the most beneficial among others techniques.
The merits of the approach can be seen under:
- It improves mental health
- Merely contains any disadvantages, except there is an utter neglect of the weaknesses.
- It is used in counseling to introduce psychotherapy.
- It helps in improving social connections
- It enhances well-being of the person
Visiting a Therapist
A mental health therapist or mental health occupational therapist with a master’s or doctorate degree who is licensed in the state can provide strength-based therapy.
Approaching a therapist doesn’t always mean that you are in deficit of something or you are weak, but it could be an extra help for the betterment of your health both physically and mentally.
Confidence in ourself and knowing that the strengths have always been there with us is important.
- Approach a nearby therapist
- Discuss your difficulties
- Get proper analyzed assessment done
- Be confident and open about your views
- Maintain the protocol
- Follow the therapist for further procedures
Ways of Embedding a Strengths-based Approach in Patient Conversation
Therapist can use such activities to help the patient along the treatment:
- Ask open ended questions. Patient can get the chance to tell their story completely implying their views and opinions.
- Ask the patient first about the main motive of the therapy and plan the treatment accordingly. Also, the questionnaire.
- Work on what’s significant to the patient. Find out the values, strengths, deficits, motivations, and readiness to change of the patient.
- Empathy between the conversation is must. Encourage the patient to talk in detail about the problem as well as the solution he thinks to be considered for it.
- The therapist must be skilled in observations. Use the acknowledged techniques and patterns to pick up on cues in the patient’s behavior, his environment, his surrounding people and his activities.
- Build good rapport with patient. Improve the conversation flow and direct it into meaningful and sensible ways.
- Contemplate the cultural, religious or social groups around the patient. Consider these groups identified by the patient and then manage the conversation without harming his consent.
- Always use a ‘gratitude journal’. It is a very useful strength-based activity. It includes writing down the things patient is grateful for, things that went well with him/ for him, stated in positive tone or things the patient is looking forward to do or accomplish during the day.
- What do you like to do in your spare time?
- Describe a successful day. What made it so?
- What are your hobbies? What are you good at?
- What do you enjoy the least?
- How do you stay motivated?
- What tasks are left on your to-do list?