Psychological Studies

, Volume 63, Issue 1, pp 19–24 | Cite as

A Glass Half Full Not Empty: Strength-Based Practice in Persons with Substance Use Disorders

  • N. Shaima
  • Gitanjali NarayananEmail author


The strength-based practice highlights the inherent competencies, resources, and values of an individual. While acknowledging underlying problem behaviors, it moves toward identifying potential solutions and meanings an individual holds. It therefore presents an innovative method to working with clients with different mental health concerns, including substance use disorders (SUD) with a focus on building resources. Traditionally, psychosocial interventions in the field of SUD have focused on behavioral management, cognitive approaches and the 12-steps programs. Such approaches have a leaning toward the deficit model and identify underlying pathology seen in addiction. Moving toward a strengths perspective offers possibilities to view one’s self and others in a positive light. In the current report, we present an argument to incorporate strength-based practices such as Motivational Interviewing, Solution-focused family therapy, Family-Centered Practice, Community-Based Participatory Research interventions and Case Management in working with persons with SUD. Specifically, we recommend a therapeutic focus of individual, family and community interventions that intensify movement toward healing by examining variables that instill well-being, while destigmatizing addiction. Secondly, we look at relational research such as social support, social networks and family strengths. Finally, we review aspects of community support groups and access to help that are intertwined within a strengths model.


Substance use disorders Strengths Motivational interviewing Family Community 


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Copyright information

© National Academy of Psychology (NAOP) India 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Addiction MedicineNational Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS)BangaloreIndia
  2. 2.Department of Clinical PsychologyNational Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS)BangaloreIndia

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