Chapter 31Strength-Based Assessment


Assessment, whether formal or informal, objective or projective, psycho-emotional or sociocultural, intrapersonal or interpersonal, is an inherent part of good clinical practice (Butcher, 2006). Traditionally, clinical assessment has explored underpinning of deficits, disorders, symptoms, syndrome, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities. Expanding the scope of clinical assessment, the chapter describes a strength-based approach within the clinical context. First, the chapter discusses the limitations of deficit-oriented assessment. Second, it defines and describes, with illustrations, a strengths-based clinical assessment and proposes a theoretical framework to understand clinical concerns not only as the presence of symptoms but also as a lack or excess of strengths. Third, the chapter ends with concrete suggestions about incorporating strengths into clinical practice.

A strength-based assessment (SBA) explores a rich diversity of attributes, experiences, and processes that are positive and adaptive within their context. SBA explores psychological abilities, assets, and strategies that can further be nurtured in order to encounter and potentially buffer against psychological disorders. SBA, despite its name and explicit emphasis on strengths, is not only about strengths. By giving equal attention and importance to strengths, SBA integrates symptoms and skills, risk and resource, and vulnerability and resilience to yield complex yet ...

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