What is strengths-based counselling?

Strengths-based counselling: using an individualized strengths-based approach

WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS? EVEN WHEN LIFE IS VERY DIFFICULT WE CAN WORK WITH YOUR STRENGTHS. What are your unique skills or abilities? They can help you deal with challenges in your life, help you achieve your goals or be the keys that help you find meaning and purpose in your life.

strengths-based counselling


Strengths-based counselling and psychotherapy focusses on the client’s strengths, capacities, desires, interests, talents, competencies, aspirations, abilities, knowledge, potentials, environmental resources and resilience.

Therapy is possibility-focussed rather than problem-focussed. The client is regarded as the expert and the therapist works collaboratively with them; empowerment of the client is a major objective.

The therapist helps the client to identify and draw upon their strengths. The focus is on the client’s abilities  rather than their shortcomings, symptoms or difficulties. The possibility of growth and change or more effective coping is assumed. Each client has a unique set of strengths and abilities that he/she can use to deal with their problems. The client is encouraged to cultivate their interests and build their own strengths to pursue their goals.

Note that strengths-based counselling does not disregard a client’s pain and struggles. However the emphasis is not on their deficiencies, weaknesses, and problems as seen by others. It is considered that clients will do better in the long run when they are helped to identify, recognize, and use the strengths and resources available in themselves and their environment. This perspective also enables clients, who often lack confidence and feel like failures when seeking services, to have improved self-esteem. The counsellor/psychotherapist can help the client determine how they have strived despite adverse circumstances.


strengths-based counselling

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love of learning

sense of humour


To learn more about character strengths see:


Strengths-based counselling involves the counsellor and client collaborating to find past and present successes and use these to address current challenges being faced by the client.

My role as a counsellor/psychotherapist is not only to help people heal, though this is of course extremely important in the work I do. Another of my roles is to work with people who do not have a mental illness but are feeling a lack of fulfilment, a lack of meaning and purpose or a lack of self-esteem.


This is a strengths-based exercise for building self-esteem.

To learn more see:


strengths-based counselling      strengths-based counselling




What is narrative therapy?

Narrative Therapy was co-developed by Michael White and David Epston.

Narrative therapy involves optimism even in the face of darkness. It assumes that clients have many resources, skills, values, abilities, beliefs, knowledge and so on that can help them reduce the influences of the problems they are struggling with in their lives. In narrative therapy the relationship between the therapist and the client is a collaborative one. Conversations are always interactive and are guided by the interests of the client. The narrative therapist is genuinely curious and asks exploratory questions. The stories (narratives) of a client’s life are central to understanding how narrative therapy works. Each client has a unique set of stories about their lives. There are stories about the past, present and future. There is always a social context in which the stories of one’s life are developed e.g culture. Embedded in the client’s stories are the interpretations and meanings they attach to various events and experiences. The meanings a client makes of their life are greatly influenced by their culture.  A client may have a story about themselves as being a “failure”. Such a label disempowers the client.

In narrative therapy exploration can lead to a preferred alternative, more positive or optimistic or hopeful story. During conversations between the therapist and client, the therapist searches for these alternative stories. These stories can open up new possibilities for living. Helping the client to construct  a preferred story (narrative) is one of the main tasks of the narrative therapist. In narrative therapy the therapist will ask questions of the client, and based on the answers, will ask further questions.

To learn more see the virtual home of narrative therapy in Australia