The approach to psychotherapy known as Strength-Based Therapy stems from the practice whereby a licensed practitioner elicits and evokes the internal strengths and resiliency of the client when experiencing treatment, rather than focusing on challenges through the lens of negativity, fear, failure, weakness, or shortcomings. Strength-based therapy presupposes and draws upon an inner resourcefulness and temerity which inclines the client toward the confident ability to analyze and thrive from a place of positivity and understanding. Therapy consists of a cooperative program of creative problem solving through the use of discussion, journaling, worksheets & questionnaires, and strengths inventories, all developed and designed to foster self-reflective introspection and incorporation of solution-building mechanisms for a healthy life.
The strength involved and encouraged through strength-based therapy is not exclusively reliant on actions of resilience and temerity, rather it focuses on strength of character, core values, and the way they relate to the individual’s approach to thought and behavioral patterns. Together, client and therapist examine a healthful approach to identify and reform unhelpful and unproductive narratives and habits. This renewed awareness of innate skill, character traits, and assurance, found within oneself, bolsters the determination and morale for self-actuation in future problem solving and conflict resolution.
The foundational tenets of strength-based therapy are based upon the fundamental value of people, and their intrinsic ability to tap into their psyche for their own greatest good. By amplifying the message of self-worth, the therapist “gives permission” to the client to take more than a passing glance at their true character, their value to those who love and esteem them, and their virtuous attributes in order to delve down to the bedrock of their true strength and confidence, allowing them to nurture their existing relationships, professional partnerships & affiliations, and their sense of self, regardless – and at times, because – of their present circumstances.
Strength-based therapy recognizes and upholds an understanding of one’s capacity not merely to survive, but to thrive in life. By taking a “get to” rather than a “have to” approach to what one wants to do and be, a perspective shift from negativity and doubt to one of positivity and empowerment creates a proactive energy for forward momentum and development. Instead of thinking thoughts like, “I don’t want to do such-and-such because it might make me feel anxious and fearful”, the strength-based therapeutic mindset says, “I look forward to the opportunity to confidently grow and experience new things.” By focusing on courage and strength rather than perceived instability or uncertainty, the client grows in their ability to motivate and empower themselves in the face of adverse experiences and difficult or disquieting circumstances. This affords them a healthy approach to the successful aspects of their lives, and allows them to release any focus they may harbor upon their actual mental health disorderliness or pathology. Their strengths, in essence, become their “superpower” over doubt, deficit, indecision, and negativity.
As the strength-based approach develops, the therapist guides the client to steer their own course. Rather than being told the therapist’s evaluation of their strengths and instincts, clients are encouraged to draw and reflect upon these attributes for themselves, as the expert of their own life. Through the use of provocative and exploratory questions, the therapist is able to illuminate and elucidate to the client that they, in fact, are navigating their own path to self-discovery.