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Most people come to therapy because they are experiencing emotional pain. They see that something is not working in their life and have reached a point of wanting to make change. Because our “problems” are what bring us to therapy, it can be very easy focus entirely on what is “wrong”. However, it is equally important to recognize what IS working in one’s life. Taking a moment to focus on our strengths is not just a way to lighten the mood – though it is certainly refreshing at times to shift the perspective and remember what we have going for us. Getting in touch with our strengths also can renew our hope and help us to feel empowered, and these two things really are the most fundamental building block of any lasting change.

Therapy is emotionally challenging, and it takes courage and perseverance to look honestly at ourselves in the hope of healing or overcoming limitations. If we are going to keep returning week after week and putting attention on what hurts, we really may need the balance of also shining a light on what we appreciate about ourselves and what we have to offer.

Personal strengths come in all shapes and sizes. One client may identify healthy coping tools that they have developed over time (cultivating friendships they can lean on, meditation or prayer, regular walks outside, a yoga practice). Other clients may get in touch with personal attributes that have helped them to keep going, such as a great sense of humor, being goal-oriented, or not giving up easily. Even remembering ways that we positively coped long ago can help to reacquaint us with parts of ourselves that may have been forgotten. And if you are in a place where you can’t even think of something you like or respect about yourself, then one immediate goal of therapy could be to discover strengths you may have never realized you possess. It is also important to remember that it takes tremendous strength just to admit you need help and to seek it out.

Therapists Who Specialize in Strength-based Therapy

Valarie Smith | LCSW
Valarie Smith
Nyambura Kihato | LPC
Nyambura Kihato
Molly Keeton Parnell | Ph.D.
Molly Keeton Parnell
Melissa Kulick | Ph.D.
Melissa Kulick
Hunter Sandifer | LPC
Hunter Sandifer
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