Leone Centre Glossary

Strength-Based Approach in Neurodiversity-Affirmative Therapy

Strength-Based Approach

In neurodiversity-affirmative therapy, the strength-based approach is a method that recognises and utilises the inherent strengths and abilities of neurodiverse individuals. This approach shifts the focus from deficits to potential, empowering individuals to thrive by leveraging their unique strengths.

Empowering potential

Traditional therapeutic models often emphasise challenges and deficits. This can be disempowering for neurodiverse individuals, leading to a sense of inadequacy. The strength-based approach counters this by highlighting and building upon what individuals do well, encouraging a more affirming self-image and promoting resilience.

Core principles

The strength-based approach involves identifying individual strengths, talents, and resources. It focuses on what neurodiverse individuals can do rather than what they cannot. This approach encourages self-advocacy, confidence, and personal growth, creating a supportive and affirming therapeutic environment.

Benefits and features

  1. Productive focus: Emphasises abilities and successes.
  2. Empowerment: Encourages self-determination and independence.
  3. Individualised: Specialised to the unique strengths and goals of each person.
  4. Collaborative: Involves the individual in their own therapeutic process.

Understanding strengths

The strength-based approach is rooted in affirmation psychology and social work principles. It recognises that every individual has unique strengths and potential that can be harnessed to improve their quality of life.

Building resilience

By focusing on strengths, neurodiverse individuals can develop greater resilience and a more robust sense of self. This approach helps individuals to see themselves in a more affirming light and to build upon their capabilities.

Practical application

Therapists work with individuals to identify their strengths through various methods, such as strength assessments, discussions, and observations. These strengths are then integrated into the therapeutic process, creating goals and practices that align with the individual’s capabilities and aspirations.


What is a strength-based approach?
A strength-based approach is a therapeutic method that focuses on identifying and leveraging the strengths and abilities of individuals rather than concentrating on their challenges and deficits.
How does the strength-based approach benefit neurodiverse individuals?
This approach helps neurodiverse individuals by empowering them, promoting self-advocacy, and encouraging  an affirming self-image, which can lead to increased resilience and personal growth.
Can the strength-based approach be integrated with other therapeutic methods?
Yes, the strength-based approach can be combined with other therapeutic methods to create a comprehensive and individualised treatment plan that addresses the unique needs of neurodiverse individuals.


  1. Robert, K. (2020). Positive Psychology and Its Role in Therapy. Journal of Psychological Studies.
  2. Smith, J. (2018). Empowering Neurodiverse Individuals through Strength-Based Approaches. Neurodiversity Affirmative Journal.
  3. Williams, L. (2019). Harnessing Strengths: A Guide to Neurodiversity-Affirmative Therapy. Therapeutic Practices Publishing.
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This glossary provides definitions of various counselling terms and approaches for informational purposes only, without implying endorsement or service provision