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Protective Factors

At any point in the practitioner’s relationship with a family system, an emphasis on increasing protective factors can be valuable. Protective factors serve to mitigate risk factors and strengthen internal or external support systems. Internal skills that can serve as protective factors include self-regulation, secure attachment connections, the capacity for empathetic understanding, adequate physical health, and appropriate social-emotional development. External protective factors can include high-quality preschool or childcare, emotional and physical safety in the home, access to age-appropriate recreation or leisure activities, social support systems (e.g., family, friends, clubs, or groups), and involvement in faith-based or cultural communities of support. Considering protective factors in treatment planning creates links to resources and community networks that can sustain mental wellness and live long beyond the prescribed treatment intervention period.


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