Character Strengths

I somehow managed to make it till the end of the first part of my psychotherapy training. A couple of weeks ago I got my certificate of psychotherapist under supervision, after 6 long years. Next move is to become fully licensed, but this should take another 3 years. It’s a long career…

Anyway, part of the certification was a final essay on these 6 years. I decided to write about my journey through the different schools of psychotherapy, culminating with the existentialism, probably the toughest of all. However, while contemplating everything I know and trying to find solutions for my own life’s challenges, I understood that there is a significant flaw in everything I know: we focus on the negative, on what’s broken, but we lack resources, we lack weapons to fight. It doesn’t help me to understand that I have this or that inner conflict, this or that irrational thought or belief. Instead, it helps me to know what are my strong points, what are those characteristics of my being on which I can rely most. I need to know my strengths.

Some of us know what we’re best at. But some of us might be in a lot of confusion and need to be told their strengths. There is a free online test for this, made available by Martin Seligman and the group of people who develop the viewpoint of positive psychology. I make available the link here, but you can also find it among the other tests on the top menu of this blog:

So, in case you’re curious about your main strength or your top 5 strengths, go and fill in the survey. How this works? Well, in case you encounter a big problem and you’re out of ideas, remember your top strength and ask yourself: how could I use my strength in this particular situation? You can also ask the rest of the 4 other top strengths the same question.

I know that, for those who know me, this might be weird, by my top strength is… Bravery. I used it a lot in my life, even if it’s not so visible. I first did the test in 2011 and I saved the results. Now, in 2014, I completed again the survey and I was surprised to find out that my strengths have changed a bit. Some of them are still in top 5, but there are new entries. Yes, we change, and with us changes our range of available behavior options. I’m sure that we have all these abilities in us, but it’s up to us to transform any ability in a strength. I’m saying this using my current top strength – the Honesty.

View also my previous article on Strengths & Virtues.

Below is an infographic taken from the VIA website which you might find helpful.

2 thoughts on “Character Strengths

  1. Rosie

    Cezar, I took the Character Strength survey. Here are my top 5:
    1. Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence
    You notice and appreciate beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in all domains of
    life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience.
    2. Fairness
    Treating all people fairly is one of your abiding principles. You do not let your personal
    feelings bias your decisions about other people. You give everyone a chance.
    3. Hope
    You expect the best in the future, and you work to achieve it. You believe that the future is
    something that you can control.
    4. Gratitude
    You are aware of the good things that happen to you, and you never take them for
    granted. Your friends and family members know that you are a grateful person because
    you always take the time to express your thanks.
    5. Humor
    You like to laugh and tease. Bringing s


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