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Accentuate the Positive: Strengths-Based Therapy for Adolescents

[ Vol. 10 , Issue. 3 ]


Eunice Yuen*, Julie Sadhu, Cynthia Pfeffer, Barry Sarvet, R. Susan Daily, Jonathan Dowben, Kamilah Jackson, John Schowalter, Theodore Shapiro and Dorothy Stubbe   Pages 166 - 171 ( 6 )


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.


Strengths-based, adolescent psychiatry, positive psychology, patient-centered care, health promotion.


Yale Child Study Center, New Haven, CT, Pritzker Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago; Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, NY, University of Massachusetts – Baystate, Springfield, MA, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Crestview Hills, KY, Lackland Air Force Base, TX, PerformCare, Robbinsville, NJ, Yale Child Study Center, New Haven, CT, New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, NY, Yale Child Study Center, New Haven, CT

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