A dynamic approach to psychological strength development and intervention

  • Biswas-Diener R
  • Kashdan T
  • Minhas G
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Abstract

Many practitioners working with clients from a strengths perspective largely rely on ad hoc interventions and employ a simplistic identify and use approach. In this article, we suggest that clients can extract greater benefits when practitioners adopt more sophisticated approaches to strengths intervention. We introduce an alternative approach that we call strengths development. This approach is distinguished by the view that strengths are not fixed traits across settings and time (the dominant, contemporary approach to personality). Instead, we adopt dynamic, within-person approaches from personality science to research, assessment, and interventions on strengths. Specifically, strengths are highly contextual phenomena that emerge in distinctive patterns alongside particular goals, interests, values, and situational factors. Strengths are potentials for excellence that can be cultivated through enhanced awareness, accessibility, and effort. Finally, we outline potential psychological risks associated with the strengths perspective that are worthy of explicit discussion with clients.

Author-supplied keywords

  • intervention
  • personality
  • positive psychology
  • strengths
  • values

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Authors

  • Robert Biswas-Diener

  • T. B. Kashdan

  • Gurpal Minhas

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