Sometimes it can be hard to see all of the things that you have achieved. The saying “we are our own worst critic” is valid for a lot of people. You might need an outside perspective to get a clear understanding of how much you have genuinely survived and accomplished in your life. Therapy can be an excellent tool for building up self-esteem and boosting confidence—strengthening your motivation to remain sober. 


Learning to embrace your inner strength after years of self-doubt and guilt can be challenging, which is why there are specific psychotherapy methods explicitly designed to encourage a positive mindset. One option that researchers have found helpful for teenagers and adults struggling with addiction is strength-based therapy. 

Strength-Based Therapy

What is Strength-Based Therapy?

Many therapies focus on negative thought patterns or behaviors and how you can transform them to improve your well-being. Strength-based therapy goes with an entirely different approach. Instead of analyzing negative aspects of your beliefs or actions, a therapist will help you identify your inner strength and resilience. A few benefits of focusing on positivity include those listed below.

  • You will feel more confident in your skills and abilities.
  • Your self-esteem and self-efficacy will grow.
  • You will think in more positive, hopeful terms, which can decrease stress and internal pressure.
  • You will be able to more quickly recognize personal achievements, making it easier to overcome anxiety and depression.
  • You will receive validation and affirmations from a trusted source leading to confidence in your own judgment and abilities.

During a session of strength-based therapy, the focus will be on your goals, personal interests, strengths, skills, hopes, knowledge, and ambitions. Your therapist will guide you through accepting the role you have played in your successes and recovery. Then they will create positive messages to address various aspects of your behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. 

The Role of Self-Esteem in Substance Abuse 

A 2013 study by Mashhad University of Medical Sciences in Iran “showed a significant association between […] self-esteem test results and smoking, and illegal drug abuse like heroin, pills, alcohol, Nas, and other substances.” The researchers recommended increasing self-esteem to decrease the risk of addiction in teenagers and adults. There is evidence that low self-esteem can increase anxiety, stress, depression, social isolation, and worsen certain physical and mental health conditions. Overall, “self-esteem has been demonstrated to predict health and well-being.”

What are the Benefits?

Here are a few of the known benefits of strength-based therapy in treating substance disorders. 

  • Builds confidence and hope in a successful outcome
  • Decreases stress, depression, and anxiety levels
  • Some people report feeling more energized
  • Improves the likelihood of achieving goals related to treatment

What to Expect During a Session

Psychotherapy involves many constructive conversations between you and your therapist or peers (if you are in a group therapy session). Strength-based therapy is no different. You will share your experiences and life goals. Sometimes it can be hard or even emotionally painful to accept praise, so your therapist may ease you into recognizing your self-worth. You will learn how to identify positive areas in your life and why they work so well. You can then translate that into other sectors of your life that might need some readjustment. 

How Strength-Based Therapy Can Help Your Recovery

Strength-based therapy is about finding ways to empower yourself and build positivity in your life. The primary principles of this treatment that can aid in your recovery are listed below:

  • Focus on strengths instead of weaknesses
  • Learn skills that will concentrate on you achieving specific goals
  • Identify barriers and overcome them using skills that feature positivity and self-empowerment

Exercises You Can Use Everyday 

Practice will be essential when it comes to learning how to think more constructively. You can work on some of the exercises you will learn for everyday situations. You might find that it helps you feel more comfortable looking at yourself as someone who is valued and influential.  

  • Make Lists: You can make a physical list of things you have accomplished throughout the day, achievements from the past, or future goals you want to work towards. You can go over those lists with your therapist to get greater insight and validation. 
  • Reframe Trauma: You can reframe traumatic or stressful events from your past by asking yourself how you got through those moments. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects, look at the strength and resilience you showed by persevering. 
  • Learn New Words: You may possess positive attributes that you simply never noticed before because you did not know what label to place them under. Look up the dozens of different emotional and physical strengths and see which ones you can identify within yourself. 
  • Talk to Your Support System: People around you may see the amazing things you have accomplished that never occurred to you. Talk to your peers, sponsor, friends, loved ones, or anyone else who you feel comfortable asking. Sometimes an outside perspective can make all the difference. 

We are here for you

You are more than your mistakes or worst moments. You are a unique individual with value and more strength than you know. At White House Recovery and Detox, we believe in everyone who walks through our doors. We know the true power and courage it takes to get to that point. Strength-based therapy can help you discover a new healthy way to move forward with your life. You can use each day as an opportunity to achieve even more goals and build up your self-confidence. No matter where you are in your recovery journey, you have the strength it takes to keep moving forward.