What is Strength-Based Therapy and How Can It Help with Depression?

If you suffer from depression, that is a very familiar mindset.

And while it is, of course, very important to identify and diagnose mental health illnesses, the overall medical and psychological approaches to those who suffer from them have been criticized for being too negative. So much so that this negativity can actually delay and impede the recovery process.

Strength-Based Therapy is different

Strength-Based Therapy takes the opposite approach.

Here, the focus is on what is ‘well’ within the client, where they function or even flourish, in spite of their current issues, and how they can use their inner strength to work with the current issue.

Strength-Based Therapy promotes a positive world view and a positive outlook.

When you are dealing with depression, this approach is a counter balance to the negative circular thinking and feelings of hopelessness that are typical of the condition.

In the strength-based approach, the counselor encourages the client to look for areas within themselves that are still intact and working well.

Together they develop strategies to build on those strengths.

This doesn’t mean that the client’s suffering is ignored. It means that the client is seen as a whole person, not just as a collection of symptoms.

How is it done?

Here are a few methods that are used in strength-based therapy in order to activate psychological recovery from within. 

1. Find your strengths

When you suffer from depression, everything looks pretty bleak. Along with depression usually come low self-worth issues.

Because you are depressed, thinking about your strengths, about your positive qualities, about what you still do well, may take a lot of effort at first.

But if you persevere, your self-perception will become more balanced. And those strengths can be applied directly to your recovery.

Many therapists start by asking you to write down a list of your strengths, a list of what you like about yourself, and what others might like about you.

When you suffer from depression, that’s not what you think about every day. This opens up your horizons again. 

2. Remember who you are

You are not defined by your depression.

Looking at your strengths and your positive qualities is a reminder that you are so much more than your illness. 

3. Become energized!

Low energy is another symptom of depression where positive psychology and strength-based therapy are very effective.

Once you identify an activity that you used to love, a talent that you have, or an ability that is part of you, you have also found a potential source of energy within yourself.

Explore with your therapist how you can nurture that little spark so that you can shine brightly again. 

4. Transferable self-care skills

Analyze what you do well. Look into the nature of your best talents.

There are many things that you already know. There are many things that you excel at every single day.

Including the ways you are managing your depression. And you are managing it, even if you don’t think so.

Once you understand the mechanics of your inner strength, you can apply them to other areas of your life where things are not going so well. 

5. You are the healer

Strength-based therapy believes that the ultimate power to heal and recover is within you. Your therapist can show you the way and accelerate the process.

And perhaps the best thing they can do for you is to lead by example.

If you are dealing with depression, why not try strength-based therapy?

You may be surprised at how well this simple but powerful ‘switch-around’ view of the human mind can work.