Last updated on November 27th, 2023.
Most people who have gone to therapy for various reasons can attest to the fact that most sessions are focused on the negative aspects of your life. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however, flipping the script to make sessions about the positive aspects of your life may be a better approach.
The 6 key principles, or standards, of strengths-based practice, are focused on bringing a positive spin to those who are going through hard times. Instead of dwelling on the negative and what caused them, clients can make real progress by focusing their energy on the positive.
To discover whether or not strengths-based practice is something that will benefit you, it is first essential to understand what it is. Keep reading to learn more about this positivity-focused practice and the 6 guiding standards behind the approach.
What is a Strengths-Based Practice?
With its origins in social work, strengths-based practice is the approach that is focused on getting clients to see their strengths in themselves as a way to overcome obstacles. Though the professional guide’s clients through the practice, it is based on a client-driven approach.
The practice is about getting clients to see the positive side of things as they relate to their own lives and well-being. This is typically done through a strategic approach that requires them to look inside themselves and pull out those areas in which they are strong.
As clients begin to look inside themselves for their strengths, they begin to see that they have value and can see the best in themselves. This approach is most common in couples therapy and in turn results in a change in their mindset to focus on the positive instead of the negative aspects of who they are.
What Is an Example of a Strengths-Based Approach?
Although often not known as a strengths-based approach, there are many examples of the practice in everyday life. In many cases, even though it is easier to focus on the bad things that happen, it is much more therapeutic to focus on the good that can come out of it.
For example, when some kind of trauma occurs to a friend, it is often much easier to keep them in that grief by constantly talking about it. It is human nature to talk a situation to death, especially if the person that it happened to is willing to listen.
A strengths-based approach to a tragedy would be to be empathetic to them, but also by asking them probing questions about their strengths. This means that instead of dwelling on the grief, you help them think of ways to solve, or at least work through the problem.
What are the 6 Key Principles of Strengths-Based Practice?
Strengths-based practice is focused on the idea of finding the positive in a not-so-great situation, which is not always easy. When guiding others through the practice, it is important to have certain standards, or guidelines.
To learn more about the standards professionals should use when using strengths-based practice, keep reading below.
1. Goal Setting
The cornerstone to any type of change is knowing why you want to make the change and creating an actionable plan to make it happen. Setting goals is the first step in adjusting the mindset that results in positive change.
During this step, the client will establish a set of goals that they wish to achieve either in the short-term or even the long-term. While setting goals, it is also important for clients to understand why they want to achieve them.
2. Strengths Assessments
One of the most important principles of strengths-based practice is for the client to take the time to identify their strengths. Since the idea is to focus on the positive aspects of their life, knowing what strengths they have is key.
3. Environmental Resources
In most situations where change is a necessity, people need other people to not only hold them accountable but also help build them up with encouragement. Connecting clients during this approach to resources in the community can be a great way to give them the support needed to push forward.
4. Alternative Methods Come First for Different Situations
Depending on the situation, the approach to helping people through whatever obstacles they face can be different. While strengths-based practice is focused on identifying and building on strengths and then setting goals, other methods focus on creating goals and then using their strengths to make them happen.
5. Hope-Inducing Relationships
Clients tend to become hopeful when they are guided through their practice by someone positive and encouraging. A strengths-based approach aids in parenting skills and focuses on making connections with others within the community that can surround the client with loving-kindness which gives them hope for their future.
6. Autonomy to Make Meaningful Choices
While the professional in strengths-based practice can help to guide clients toward specific strengths and goals, it is the client who has the ultimate choice. This is because they know themselves better than anyone and can be empowered to make positive changes with some guidance from others.
Become a Strengths-Based Practitioner
For those interested in becoming a strengths-based practitioner, it is first important to understand what that means exactly. This typically comes with understanding the practice of building oneself by using their strengths.
If you are in the role of influencing others then understanding your strengths and using them to change your mindset can result in positive changes in your life. You can then use the approach in your work to help others realize their potential.
Taking a course in strengths-based practice such as the Strengths Practitioner Certificate through the School of Positive Transformation will help you not only help others but allows you to get in touch with your strengths.
The course, founded by Dr. Ilona Boniwell, is about 50 hours of study focused on the various aspects of strengths-based practice. Accredited by the CPD, or Continuing Professional Development Certification Service, this course which is internationally recognized will give you everything you need to become a strengths-based practitioner.
The cost of the Strengths Practitioner Certificate is currently offered either in a single payment of $390 or two installments of $200. The comprehensive course will give you the knowledge and skills to begin helping others reach their fullest potential.