Identifying Signature Character Strengths
October 13, 2011
Clinical Handouts, Positive Psychology
One of the most useful and widely used Positive Psychology strategies for promoting wellbeing is to identify and draw upon our signature character strengths, which relate to our enduring key virtues. These character strengths are the kind of virtues which are recognized by all cultures.
There is an accessible scientific method of identifying signature character strengths which involves completing a Character Strengths Survey. This is obtained by accessing the Authentic Happiness website of Martin Seligman at authentichappiness.sas It is also the first link on the links page of our website at useful links. When we act on our most developed, or signature, character strengths to address challenges or goals we are more likely to be engaged, effective and to find satisfaction in what we are doing.
The steps are:
Access the Authentic Happiness website
Click on the “Register” button at lower left and complete relevant details to register
Click on the VIA Survey of Character Strengths
Complete the questionnaire (it takes about 45 minutes)
Print off the findings (your list of 24 character strengths in order)
Then – consider your top five (and especially your top two) signature strengths
Do these fit with your expectations?
Have people previously remarked that you have these characteristics?
When you have been “at your best”, were these strengths on display or helping you to achieve goals?
When you act on these strengths do you tend to feel more assured or confident?
How might you draw on these strengths further?
What are some ways you could use your top strengths in a new way?
Are there further ways you can use your top two strengths in combination, perhaps to deal with a challenging situation, or an opportunity?
Perhaps listen to the podcast on character strengths on our website.
Further information on the relevance of and ways of using our signature character strengths is detailed in Martin Seligman’s book, “Flourish”.
B.A.(Hons); M.A.(Clin. Psych.); Dip. Clin. Hypnosis; FAPS
Chris has over 35 years’ clinical experience including 10 years as a Senior Clinical Psychologist at the Geelong and Heidelberg Repatriation Hospitals. He offers psychotherapy to adults and adolescents for difficulties including anxiety, depression, anger reactions and marital problems. Chris specializes in assisting people’s recovery from post-traumatic stress including complex trauma reactions.
Chris is interested in evaluating the effectiveness of therapy interventions in real-world settings such as hospital and private practice settings. He has presented at national and international conferences for over 20 years research demonstrating the effectiveness of his therapy interventions for anxiety, depression and trauma reactions.
Chris also consults with individuals and organizations about applying positive psychological strategies to enhance business and organizational success.
Chris is author of the recently released book, Synchronicity: Empower your life with the gift of coincidence.