VIA Character Strengths
Personality is the sum total of our psychological makeup and how we uniquely express ourselves in the world. It is the pattern of emotional qualities, behaviors, thoughts, feelings, attitudes and habits that make us who we are. But for many of us it can be difficult to describe our own personality.
However, many of the major personality assessments measure what is going wrong with people, such as psychopathology, illness or serious problems (e.g., MMPI-2; MCMI-3; Rorschach inkblot test). Other personality tests assess neutral characteristics such as extraversion/introversion, feeling/thinking (e.g., Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). And many of the other “fad” tests are not science-based and therefore unreliable. All in all, personality tests that are research validated and measure what is going right with people are hard to come by.
This is where the VIA Survey of Character Strengths comes in to play. The VIA Survey is a psychometrically validated personality test that measures an individual’s character strengths. Character strengths are viewed as our positive personality in that they are our core capacities for thinking, feeling, and behaving in ways that can bring benefit to oneself and others.
Further, researchers at the University Pennsylvania have identified the seven of the 24 strengths as being critical for academic success: Grit/Perseverance, Zest, Self-Control, Optimism, Gratitude, Social Intelligence and Curiosity.
Consequently, these seven are the most important strengths to focus on and develop when working with adolescents.
The jobZologyTM Assessment is a tool for students to learn more about themselves and their unique characteristics that drive workplace success and happiness. It is a tool that points one toward paths in education, jobs, and careers, in which one finds purpose and meaning. It provides a dashboard of results one can use to help talk about themselves with teachers, career counselors and employers.
More specifically, jobZologyTM will assist high school students to
• Start asking the right questions about career
• More clearly identify their Work Values, Work Interests, Personality and Workplace Preferences
• Have access to the nation’s most extensive database of career descriptions
• Have an ongoing resource for career direction and job placement for years to come.
Phillip Nienhuis, LMSW, is a family counselor who works from a distinctively strengths-°©‐based perspective with youth and adults. He has provided counseling at Bethany Christian Services in Grand Rapids and Holland for 18 years. He has also developed a strengths-°©‐based curriculum that targets at-°©‐risk adolescents. This program has been utilized at numerous alternative high schools in the Grand Rapids, Wyoming and Holland communities.