Updated: Mar 15
Strength cards are a tool used by mental health professionals to engage children and young people in exploring their personal strengths and building resilience in the face of adversity.
This blog post explores the benefits of using these cards with children and young people, drawing on research and case studies.
Firstly, the blog post defines strength cards, explaining their purpose and use. Secondly, it reviews the evidence base on their effectiveness, highlighting the positive outcomes reported in various programmes. Finally, the blog post offers practical guidance for professionals on how to incorporate strength cards into their work with children and young people.
Building resilience is an important aspect of mental health promotion and prevention in children and young people. Strengthening their sense of self-efficacy and positive self-identity can help them cope with stress, setbacks and challenges. Strength cards are a tool that can be used to facilitate this process, by encouraging children and young people to explore their personal strengths and identify ways to use them in different situations.
What are Strength Cards?
Strength cards are a set of cards, each containing a word or phrase that represents a strength or positive attribute. Examples of strengths include creativity, courage, persistence, fairness, kindness etc.
The set typically contains 24 cards, each with a simple illustration or graphic to represent the strength.
The purpose of the cards is to provide a prompt or stimulus for discussion, reflection and action. Children and young people select cards that resonate with them or that they aspire to, and use them as a basis for exploring their own strengths, values and behaviours. The cards can be used in a variety of settings, such as in one-to-one counselling or coaching sessions, group workshops or classroom activities.
Research studies and evaluations of programmes using strength cards have reported positive outcomes in several areas. These include:
1. Increased resilience: Children and young people who used strength cards reported feeling more confident, capable and resilient when faced with challenges. They also reported a greater sense of control and agency over their own lives.
2. Improved self-awareness: Through the process of selecting and discussing the strengths on the cards, children and young people developed a deeper awareness of their own qualities and characteristics. They were able to recognise their strengths and areas for development and take steps towards self-improvement.
3. Better relationships: Strength cards were reported to be helpful in promoting positive relationships between children and young people, and between children and adults. By recognising and appreciating their own and others' strengths, they were able to build trust and respect.
4. Academic improvement: Some programmes using strength cards found that academic performance improved, as children and young people were more engaged, motivated and focused.
Professionals working with children and young people can incorporate strength cards into their practice in a variety of ways. Some suggestions include:
- Introducing the concept of strengths in a positive and empowering way, using examples of real people who have overcome challenges through their own qualities and attributes.
- Providing guidance and support for children and young people to reflect on their own strengths and how they might use them in different situations.
- Using the cards as a prompt for problem-solving and decision-making, by encouraging children and young people to identify which strengths they need to use in different situations.
- Using the cards to facilitate group discussions and activities around themes such as friendship, teamwork, responsibility or conflict resolution.
- Encouraging children and young people to create their own strength cards, based on their personal values and qualities.
Strength cards provide a practical and effective tool for promoting resilience and positive self-identity in children and young people. Used in a variety of settings, they can help children and young people to recognise and build on their own strengths and qualities, develop self-awareness, improve relationships and academic performance. Mental health professionals working with children and young people can use strength cards as part of a broader approach to building resilience and promoting wellbeing.
24 Strength Cards
Animal Strength Cards