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Positive Prevention

A Strengths-Based Approach

Substance use has historically been seen as a moral failing and, therefore, substance use prevention has a long history of being negative, moralizing, and shame-based. We know that this approach does not work to effectively engage and educate most people.

Phoenix House Texas distinguishes itself from other substance use prevention and mental health education providers through its evidence-based and strengths-based approach to prevention through our positive prevention model. Instead of using fear tactics, shaming, or simply telling youth what not to do, positive prevention meets participants where they are by helping them build an understanding of their personal strengths and how they can best leverage their strengths to consider change and avoid turning to substance use.

PHT uses the research-backed VIA Character Strengths, which are made up of 24 total Strengths that fall under six broader categories called Virtues. Research indicates that using our Signature Strengths benefits many different facets of life and helps individuals develop positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and achievement—also called PERMA—which have been identified as the main areas of life associated with well-being. A depth of research shows that when individuals are able to improve their well-being they are more likely to experience a variety of positive health outcomes, such as improved sleep, better performance in work and school, and stronger immune systems—all of which directly and indirectly impact sobriety.

Experiencing a felt sense of well-being and being able to fulfill one’s needs in healthy, sustainable ways through the use of Signature Strengths help protect against the impulse to use substances to cope, which in turn helps improve the health of not only individuals but also families and whole communities.