A Strengths-Based Approach for Intervention With At-Risk Youth


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By focusing attention on what is right with youth rather than what is wrong with them, the strengths-based approach to intervening with youth avoids negative outcomes commonly associated with deficit- or problem-based interventions. This book provides an accessible outline of the strengths-based approach and details 41 interventions across several strengths domains.

Practitioners in school, clinical and community settings will find the book’s numerous case examples, practical suggestions and reproducible forms and handouts invaluable in the provision of day-to-day youth services.


  • Part 1: Overview of a Strengths-Based Approach
  • Chapter 1—Strengths-Based Approach: What, When, How, Where, Why?
  • Chapter 2—Evidence-Based Support
  • Chapter 3—Thinking Back to Childhood Experiences
  • Chapter 4—Holistic Perspective: Prevention, Assessment, and Intervention
  • Chapter 5—Promoting Resiliency in Youth
  • Chapter 6—Motivating and Engaging Youth
  • Chapter 7—Enhancing Youths’ Openness and Honesty
  • Part 2: Strengths-Based Interventions
  • Chapter 8—Strengths-Based Interventions: An Overview
  • Chapter 9—Relationship Development
  • Chapter 10—Optimistic Attitude Development
  • Chapter 11—Asset Development
  • Chapter 12—Prosocial Development
  • Chapter 13—Intellectual Development
  • Chapter 14—Provider Development


“Dr. Powell’s 41 strengths-based interventions provide well-supported and practical strategies that illuminate the science and art of working with at-risk youth. This book is a ‘must read’ for new therapists, clinical supervisors, and experienced therapists who need a fresh and optimistic perspective.” —Tom Leversee, LCSW, Colorado Division of Youth Corrections

“An excellent book for those starting out in this field, it is also a wonderful reminder to those of us who have been around for some time of the importance of ensuring that our approaches continue to help build resilience in our young clients through strengths-based work and interventions.” —Russ Pratt, Dpsych, Department of Health and Human Services, Melbourne, Australia

“Dr. Kevin Powell has used his experience with adolescent youth to write a very readable and comprehensive review of a strengths-based approach. . . . The reader will come away with a solid perspective on this very important approach to intervention.” —Ernest L. Chavez, PhD, Department of Psychology, Colorado State University

Author Bio:

Kevin M. Powell, PhD, is a licensed psychologist who has been working with children, adolescents, and their families for the past three decades in a variety of settings, including outpatient, inpatient, school, and correctional facilities. Dr. Powell currently works as the clinical director and psychologist for a 103-bed youth correctional facility in Colorado. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Colorado State University in the Department of Psychology.