“Strengths-Based, Solution-Focused Therapy” refers to positive approaches in psychology and therapy that focus on strengths and solutions. These approaches to therapy take the focus away from “fixing what is wrong” to “building up what is going right.” Rather than looking solely at the issues going on, we look for the positive things that may already be there. Sometimes, we can build up a person’s self-esteem and encourage them to find their own solutions by emphasizing their strengths. When our kids are going through extreme challenges and displaying problematic behaviors or emotions, we might get so fixated on the issues that we forget about the positive things about our kids.
We may unintentionally label them as a problem to be fixed and our kids may internalize these labels into their self-identity. When using a strengths-based approach, we remember to also build up our child’s pre-existing strengths. We also focus more on finding solutions and encourage our children to be a part of the solution. By encouraging our kids to find solutions and be a part of the solution-focused process, we are teaching them skills of independence and self-advocacy that can help them for a lifetime.
Our Bias Towards the Negative
Human beings often have a strong bias to pay more attention to what is going wrong than what is going right. We might fixate on problems and negativity. This is natural for all of us due to our survival instincts. When things are going well, they are not a threat to our survival. When things are going wrong, we get hyper-focused on fixing them that we may lose all perspective. When our child is going through a tough time, we need to remember to help them find and build their strengths. We can do them a great service by reminding them of the positive things that we see in them.
Take some time right now to think of the positive attributes of your child and write them down. Remind your child of these things that you value about them as often as you can.
We can take some time to praise our children for the things that they do right, even if they only do one right thing per day. Sometimes, when our kids are in a high state of duress, they struggle to get through the day. We may have to lower our expectations and remember to be excited for them whenever they make any progress in the right direction. When we are using strengths-based approaches in therapy, we are working actively to build and identify strong points to help children get through tough times.
Building Self-Esteem and Confidence
Strengths-based therapy helps a child learn what they do right and what they do well. The idea is to help them build up their self-esteem and confidence. When they feel higher levels of self-esteem and confidence, they can develop higher levels of resilience to deal with their struggles. When our kids are suffering and dealing with emotional burdens, their self-esteem often goes down as a result. Sometimes, low self-esteem can be a cause of some of their emotional issues. Some issues, like depression, can be both the cause of lower levels of self-esteem and be the result of low self-esteem. By focusing less on “solving depression” and more on “building self-esteem,” we hope to treat the depression at the root of the issue.
Empowering Kids to Find Solutions
Solution-focused approaches in therapy are just that: therapeutic approaches that encourage our kids to find solutions. When people are in therapy or treatment, getting a “buy-in” is important. A “buy-in” refers to our desire to follow through and commit to the solutions presented in therapy. By using a solution-focused approach, the therapist empowers our kids to find solutions that will agree. By getting the input of our kids to find their own solutions, they are more likely to “buy-into” the treatment. The more involvement and choice that they have to solve their issues, the more likely our kids will be to follow through.
Solution-focused approaches also encourage our kids to look for positive things and find solutions rather than being focused on the problems. We acknowledge the issue while also looking for positive momentum and moving forward. We can connect their outcomes in therapy to the things that are important to them and the goals that they want outside of therapy. By emphasizing our kids’ strengths and encouraging them to find solutions, we can help them become well-rounded and emotionally healthy adults in the future.
Strength-based, solution-focused approaches to therapy can help our kids learn the skills that they already possess that can help them find solutions to the problems they are facing. When we focus more on the positive attributes of our kids, we can help build their self-esteem and resilience to get through their struggles. We can take some time to remind our children of the positive characteristics that we see in them. We can remind them of what they contribute to the family and world through their talents, gifts, skills, personality, and passions. We might need to start small and praise our children for the little things that they do right. Be mindful and look for these things! When we are faced with problems, we often forget about the good things. If your child is struggling and could benefit from strength-based, solution-focused approaches to therapy, Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center is here for you. Call us today at (303) 443-3343.