Growth Mindset & Leveraging Adversity

Growth Mindset

When a client seeks the help of a clinician, there are always obvious needs: to improve relationships, reduce stress, boost mood, make decisions, etc. Yet these goals – or problems – often mask the larger psychological issues at hand. And while clinicians can present a host of valuable information and techniques to help overcome the client’s immediate problems, they may also miss a valuable opportunity. Because at the root of almost every person seeking some form of self-help is a person facing adversity. The act of seeking help, in itself, is an act of admission that the adversity a person faces is too much to bear. The fact that the client is not at the desired place in life may be further testament to the fact that the adversity in his/her life has also been too much to bear.

Adversity is also what we find at the root of almost every client who returns to regressive behavior. Things are going just fine, until, life throws a curveball, and suddenly, the client returns to exactly where she/he started – and doesn’t want to be. The problem is the client’s attitude toward adversity.

Feeling like adversity is a bad thing – something to be avoided, minimalized, or quickly overcome – is not a small problem, as evidenced by escalating rates of depression, anxiety, subjective accounts of stress, and obesity – which many would argue is an outgrowth of depression. What all of these conditions have in common, is that some form of adversity lies at the center. While depressed clients may complain about isolation, self-doubt, and a pervasive feeling of inadequacy, an obese person may complain about shame, embarrassment, lack of time, and lack of energy. All of these things are forms of adversity.

What should then form the foundation of helping clients achieve any goals – in therapy or otherwise – is a way to help them learn to face adversity. Perhaps what is truly needed is not just a way to face adversity, but a way to leverage adversity to propel growth. Research on what is called a “growth mindset” – which is the belief that intelligence and ability are not fixed and that improvements are dependent on effort (i.e. the harder you work, the better you get) – demonstrates that those with a growth mindset tend to work harder after challenges than those who believe that intelligence and ability are fixed.

This course will provide a methodology for clinicians to teach their clients to transcend their adversities, using them to do more than simply bounce back – but to spring forward. Combining positive psychology and strength-based approaches, this course explains a solution to a relevant and pressing problem: the avoidance of adversity. Clients respond more favorably to therapeutic methods that focus on their strengths, and help them to propel growth. Strength-based approaches, not surprisingly, also show better retention outcomes.

Course excerpt from Leveraging Adversity: Turning Setbacks into Springboards

Leveraging AdversityLeveraging Adversity: Turning Setbacks into Springboards is a 6-hour online continuing education (CE) course that gives clinicians the tools they need to help their clients face adversity from a growth perspective and learn how to use setbacks to spring forward, and ignite growth. While clients can seek the help of a psychotherapist for numerous reasons, one thing that all clients face is adversity. Whether in their own lives, or within the training program itself, adversity and setbacks are inevitable. And how clients handle adversity often colors not just their ability to move past it, but also their success in therapy. Packed with the most recent data on post-traumatic growth, behavioral economics, and evolutionary psychology, this course begins with a look at just what setbacks are and how they affect us. Clinicians are then introduced to the concept of “leveraging adversity,” that is, using it to make critical reconsiderations, align values with behavior, and face challenges with a growth mindset. The course then addresses the five core strengths of leveraging adversity – gratitude, openness, personal strength (growth mindset), connection, and belief – and provides numerous exercises and skills for clinicians to use with clients. Included are 25 separate handouts clinicians can give to clients to cement core concepts from the course. Course #61-03 | 2018 | 92 pages | 35 posttest questions

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

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