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A Strengths Approach to Assessment in Therapeutic Recreation: Tools for Positive Change

Lynn S. Anderson, Linda A. Heyne


This article describes an approach and rationale for assessment in therapeutic recreation that is strengths-based and person-centered. Strengths-based assessment is grounded in the ecological approach, the social model of disability, and therapeutic recreation practice models that emphasize both leisure and functional ability with outcomes of well-being (e.g., Flourishing through Leisure Model, Leisure and Well-Being Model). Contrasted with assessment processes and tools that focus on finding people’s problems, strengths-based assessments help participants and practitioners discover strengths such as interests, preferences, talents, dreams, goals, and aspirations. A sampling of assessment tools is presented that focus on people’s strengths, well-being, and life quality, as well as tap into their environmental resources.


Assessment; strengths approach; well-being; leisure; functional ability; therapeutic recreation; recreational therapy

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