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Strengths: Gifts Taught And Caught

Strengths: Gifts Taught and Caught

(slightly revised version found of parts of Strength(s) and Environment  jan2014.vp (

…sometimes strengths need to be re-taught (via encouraging relationships, nurturance and helping others see what is already there). Seligman (2002), it dicates, ‘you [workers] are aware of the motives and feelings of others and you can respond well to them’ (p.43).

Likewise, if the environment is right, strengths can be ‘caught’; where there are people to role-model, to act as mentor and recognise & nurture the ‘buds of new strengths’.

Both are only possible if the workers and their organisations have a mindset that is positive in its focus and restoring in its intent – this too calls for an understanding of the power of strengths, self-belief and opportunity to achieve

… we fail to see the wood for the trees, a youth’s strengths can be obscured from our gaze amidst the problems located in their behaviour.

If that is the case maybe we need to recalibrate our equipment and refocus our professional lens to think about strengths rather than deficits – this can then rebalance the scales.

Sometimes a shift is required to help us to recognize that the children and youth we care for (and about) may have problems but they also have strengths.

As Brendtro (2003) noted, ‘when assessment and treatment are based on strengths, children are more likely to become full participants in the therapeutic process’ (p.114)

24 Character Strengths

Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence – Hope – Perseverance – Bravery – Humility Perspective – Creativity – Humour – Prudence – Curiosity – Judgment – Self-Regulation – Fairness – Kindness – Social Intelligence – Forgiveness – Leadership – Spirituality – Gratitude – Love – Teamwork – Honesty – Love of Learning – Zest