Strengths-Based Therapy (SBT)
A strengths-based approach is an approach often used in psychotherapy, in conjunction with or to supplement other approaches.
The SBT approach was developed as an approach in social work starting in the 1980s. Social work historically was built on morals of the community and used to intervene in families who were not seen as being or acting “morally”.
As the profession developed, social workers began to understand this approach as deeply problematic and rooted in oppressive systems.
As social workers challenged their historical approach to “helping”, they began to take a more holistic and systemic approach to the “problems” they were seeing.
This helped social workers to understand the basic principal that most people really were doing the best they could in the systems they were subject to.
This led to the strengths-based approach in which the main focus is less on the “problems” in living, and more so on the natural skills and abilities people already had, and guiding the client to use these inherent assets to create solutions.
This type of person-centered approach allows for the client to solve problems in a way that honors their reality, and builds hope, confidence, and a sense of accomplishment.
Therapists using a strengths-based approach help clients to see their inherent, individual strengths and apply them to the issues or challenges they may be facing.
This helps build an internal sense of control and accomplishment and often leads to success in various areas of life as mindset shifts from hopeless or helpless to holding more self-esteem.