My Emphasis On Strengths-Based Methods

Historically, mental health treatment has emphasized problem behaviors. However, research and experience during the last ten years regarding recovery, rehabilitation, and resilience has clarified the importance of emphasizing individual strengths and vibrant social support systems in addition to changing negative attitudes and thoughts.

Strengths-Based Methods include:

  • Focus on strengths, interests, abilities and competencies rather than on deficits, weaknesses, or problems
  • Emphasize people’s capacity to learn, grow, and change
  • Respect the empowerment of the individual as central to success
  • Nurture connection to a caring network of support by encouraging connection to pro-social individuals and community programs

To most effectively achieve desired outcomes, I emphasize assessment of each client’s talents, natural abilities, personal characteristics, and basic life skills. I then help clients apply them within their environment to achieve their personal goals.

So, What Is Resilience?

Wolin and Wolin, leaders in the field of resilience, describe resilience as "The capacity to bounce back, to withstand hardship, and to repair oneself." This capacity is based on a set of attributes that make up a resilient personality, and include:
  • Self esteem
  • Independent thoughts and actions
  • Ability to compromise in interactions with others
  • Well-established networks of friends
  • High level of discipline and a sense of responsibility
  • Acknowledgment of one's own special gifts and talents
  • Open-mindedness and willingness to explore new ideas
  • Willingness to dream
  • Broad range of interests
  • Sharp sense of humor
  • Insight into one's own feelings and those of others; and the ability to effectively communicate these
  • High endurance of distress
  • Focus
  • Appreciation and respect for personal challenges as necessary steps in the development of emotional depth and competence in critical life skills.

I will have achieved my therapeutic goals for each client when they develop into strong, creative, resilient children and adults who are ready and able to thrive in life with their eyes and hearts wide open, confident and competent in their critical life skills.

Why I Do What I Do

A growing body of research and experience confirms that to thrive in life, one must have strong social, emotional, coping and thinking skills.  These skills are the foundation of resilience.  With strong skills and solid connections to a caring community, people are best prepared to learn from life experience and thrive.

copyright © Neal Mazer, MD, MPH