Strengths-based cognitive-behavioural therapy: a four-step model to build resilience

Clin Psychol Psychother. 2012 Jul-Aug;19(4):283-90. doi: 10.1002/cpp.1795. Epub 2012 Jun 1.


Padesky and Mooney's four-step Strengths-Based cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) model is designed to help clients build positive qualities. This article shows how it can be used to build and strengthen personal resilience. A structured search for client strengths is central to the approach, and methods designed to bring hidden strengths into client awareness are demonstrated through therapist-client dialogues. Development of positive qualities requires a shift in therapy perspective and different therapy methods from those employed when therapy is designed to ameliorate distress. Required adjustments to classic CBT are highlighted with specific recommendations for clinical modifications designed to support client development of resilience such as a focus on current strengths, the constructive use of imagery and client-generated metaphors. Although the focus of this article is on resilience, this Strengths-Based CBT model offers a template that also can be used to develop other positive human qualities.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Creativity
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Female
  • Happiness
  • Humans
  • Imagination
  • Individuality
  • Internal-External Control
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Metaphor
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Practice, Psychological
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • Smiling