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J Clin Psychol. 2009 May;65(5):488-98. doi: 10.1002/jclp.20595.

Strength-based assessment in clinical practice.

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Psychological Services, Toronto District School Board, South-West, 1 Civic Centre Court, Toronto, Ontario.


Strength-based assessment can enhance clinical clarity, improve the range of information, and provide a more complete picture of clients and their circumstances. Deficit-oriented assessment has improved the assessment and treatment of a number of disorders but, at the same time, has created a negative bias, considered strengths as clinical peripheries or by-products, tended to reduce clients to diagnostic categories, and created a power differential, which could be counterproductive to clinical efficacy. Strength-based assessment explores weaknesses as well as strengths to effectively deal with problems. We present a number of strength-based strategies for use in clinical practice. These strategies, we hope, will help clinicians to operationalize how strengths and weaknesses reverberate and contribute to a client's psychological status, which is comprehensive and guards against negative bias.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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