Accentuate the Positive: Strengths-Based Therapy for Adolescents

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Article, Peer-reviewed

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Purpose: The field of psychiatry has conventionally employed a medical model in which mental health disorders are diagnosed and treated. However, the evidence is amassing that using a strengths-based approach that promotes wellness by engaging the patient's assets and interests may work in synergy with the medical model to promote recovery. This harmonizes with the patient-centered care model that has been promoted by the Institute of Medicine.

Methods: The article uses a clinical case to highlight the attributes of a strength-based model in the psychiatric treatment of adolescents.

Results: Outcome metrics from a number of studies have demonstrated enhanced youth and parent satisfaction and decreased use of hospital level of care with the implementation of strengths-based therapeutic modalities.

Implications: Incorporating strengths-based interventions into conventional psychiatric practice provides a multi-faceted treatment approach that promotes recovery in children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders.

Keywords: Strengths-based; adolescent psychiatry; health promotion; patient-centered care; positive psychology.