Handling a problem, a difficult situation or having a difficult conversation is a task that can bring dread to the most able person. But what if there was a new way to approach these difficult situations that helped to refocus the conversation and take some of the conflict away? From the therapist-patient relationship comes the idea of “resource priming,” which involves starting the conversation by focusing on the other person’s strengths and then moving on from there.
- Research studies have shown that when therapists focus on their client’s strengths prior to a therapy session (called “resource priming”) that a number of positive outcomes unfold.
- If there’s a sensitive discussion you need to have with a family member or a sticky, complicated situation to address with a friend, could you consider their strengths before you talk with them?
- *Romantic couples considering the strengths of their spouse or partner before engaging in a conflict or confrontation. Couples can consider the qualities of their loved one that they most cherish and appreciate (research shows this is connected with happier and more committed relationships).
“Before you enter the lion’s den, discuss the elephant in the room, or address the monkeys in someone else’s circus, try this: Think about their top character strengths. Believe it or not, your sworn enemy, your disgruntled boss, your depressed client, and the politician you hate—all have strengths of character.”