Article

Widening the Diagnostic Focus: A Case for Including Human Strengths and Environmental Resources

Beatrice A. Wright and Shane J. Lopez

in The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology

Second edition

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780195187243
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195187243.013.0008
 Widening the Diagnostic Focus: A Case for Including Human Strengths and Environmental Resources

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In positive psychology, we must challenge a common error of professional psychology, today: making diagnostic, treatment, and policy decisions primarily on deficiencies of the person instead of giving serious consideration to “deficits” and “strengths” of both person and environment. This mission may seem disheartening in that it requires greater rather than less cognitive complexity. Yet this multifaceted focus is crucial if two system concepts—whole person and behavior as a function of person in interaction with environment—are to betaken seriously (Lewin, 1935 ). Practice and research that fall short of attending to this person-environment interaction does a disservice to remedial possibilities and personal integrity. We have divided this chapter into two parts. In the first part, we present enlightening concepts together with supporting research. In the second part, we apply the insights gained to professional practice and research and make specific recommendations regarding each of the issues raised.

Keywords: balanced assessment; deindividuation; diagnosis; labeling; strengths

Article.  13112 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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