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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book focuses on integrating human strengths into psychological assessments. In the past, psychology has done a good job in identifying psychopathology and difficulties in living but has failed to analyze human strengths. This book attempts to draw attention to the study of human strengths, which will help provide a good balance in the analysis of human functioning.
Purpose: According to the editors, "we hope that this volume is thought-provoking and that it will help readers to incorporate assessment of the positive into their work. Indeed, we hope to stimulate our colleagues' scientific and practical pursuits of optimal human functioning." The book meets these worthy objectives.
Audience: According to the editors, "this volume was written to help professionals bring balance to the assessment approach." Graduate students could benefit greatly as well since psychological assessment courses have mainly focused on the anatomy of pathology. The editors and contributors are credible authorities.
Features: The book covers cognitive, emotional, interpersonal, and religious/philosophical models and measures of human strengths. Many positive attributes are discussed including optimism, hope, creativity, problem solving, courage, and humor, to name a few. The book covers a wide spectrum of topics, which is its major strength. It encourages the reader to see both strengths and weaknesses as part of a comprehensive evaluation.
Assessment: This book is refreshing because it urges the reader to spend sufficient time analyzing strengths, instead of just focusing on weaknesses and pathology. I think a statement from the first chapter puts it all in perspective: "By only focusing on weaknesses, psychologists have perpetuated an assessment process that is out of balance." (p.5.) This book helps professionals to bring balance back to the practice of psychological assessment.