Dynamics of Human Growth,  Mental Health,  Psychology

Therapist Use of Client Strengths: A Qualitative Study of Positive Processes. The Counseling Psychologist

This is a journal article review by Truphosah Fridah Monah, Counseling Psychologist.

This article highlights the importance of showing the real identity of counseling psychology which is aimed at bringing forth positive therapeutic process when dealing with clients. For any therapy process, the client looks forward to get better than they were when they came for help. It is therefore important to ensure that the client is not hurt further but helped to see positivity and possibility making the best out of life. The main emphasis is put on the use of client strength during the therapeutic process which helps clients to move towards ideal human functioning. The mainstream therapy is seen to have a number of positive processes that are found in the main five themes known as; Amplification of strengths, contextual considerations, strength-oriented processes, strength-oriented outcomes and positive meaning-making. By using the client’s strength, the therapist helps the client to have a broad perspective and develops hope and motivation which in turn creates positive meanings through reframing and metaphors used during the session. The client’s strengths can be well identified through the interpersonal therapeutic process with the therapist. This can be explored fully by matching the client’s contexts through strengths, amplify strengths through encouragement and exception finding.

By including the client’s strengths during counseling, the therapist is able to prevent more problems, promote human growth especially of the client as well as maximize human potential that makes the client to accept the therapy. Counseling psychology, unlike clinical psychology, invests a lot in the psychological strength and seeing people as assets. In clinical psychology, therapist tend to look for what is wrong and look for ways of treating it. On the other hand, counseling psychology looks for what is right and how to help the client use it making counseling psychologists aspire for strength-oriented methods. The use of positive psychology aims at helping the clients to develop healthy and positive self by paying attention to human strengths as well as positive development. In other words, a client is not a mere messed up individual looking forward to be fixed, a client is an individual with inner potentials that need to be unveiled through a helpful therapeutic process hence the need for counseling psychologists to identify the strengths of the client and build on them to make the clients come up with new stories of their lives built on the foundation of who they are.


The author of the article is

Scheel M. J.; Klentz D. C.; Henderson J. D. (2012). Therapist Use of Client Strengths: A     Qualitative Study of Positive Processes. The Counseling Psychologist 41(3) 392-427 DOI:            10.1177/0011000012439427

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