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Strength Clusters™ featured at the First Festival on Positive Education - IPEN 2016 

April 24, 2018

Interview with Jennifer Louden - Making Space for New Voices

Our world is complex and beautiful in its diversity. Many of the conflicts I see, is that we all have a profound need to be seen, heard, and valued. And, because we cannot see, hear, or value each other, we disconnect.


Strength Clusters® provides a pathway towards connecting, respecting one another, creating understanding, honoring that unique expression of who we are. It makes it visible, and tangible.


My biggest vision for this work is that people with major differences can come together on the mat. Maybe, this can be an appreciative, safe space from which a conversation towards understanding can begin to emerge.

July 22, 2017

Character Strengths: Action Explorations Using The Values in Action (VIA) and The Segura Strength Clusters™ Map

Written by:

Phoebe Atkinson, LCSW, Coach, TEP

Nancy Kirsner, PhD, OTR, PP, TEP

Positive Psychology and Action Methods fit together like hand and glove. Positive Psychology focuses on character strengths, positive emotions, education, and community. This workshop focused on attendees unique constellation of Character Strengths as measured by the VIA free survey ( and explored in action through dyads, best self stories and work/play on the Strength Clusters Map. Everyone experienced strength naming and definitions, strength stories, and strength spotting within the main frame of the VIA AWARE, EXPLORE and APPLY model.


It was Sunday, the last day of the ASGPP Conference and the very last time period, 3-6 PM. Phoebe and I wondered, would folks be too tired and have already left? Would we have anyone at our workshop? We were so excited about being together to be “on the mat” as we call it (we live in different cities), and our dear colleague Nicole Stottlemeyer (a Coach specializing in using Character Strengths with children /adolescents) was with us as well. Action Insights occur working on the Character Strengths map just as they do in psychodramas! To our surprise and delight we had a lively engaged wonderful group of 23 folks.

Being on and speaking from the Strengths Cluster Map helps people understand and connect with each other through the language of character strengths that fosters a culture of appreciation. The Map is multi-sensory and activates different learning pathways that are highly visual, colorful, playful and kinesthetic. The MAP is a visual extension of the written VIA survey and its action opportunities are limitless and provide wonderful opportunities for any groups, parents, educators and psychodramatists.


The Strengths ClustersTM - Cultivating a world of appreciation a character strength at a time - map was designed and created by Giselle Marzo Segura ( action applications using the Map continue to open up a very rich world in which to work with clients. Phoebe and I have been orienting our practices using VIA strengths for several years. Now that we have the Strengths Cluster Map as an additional tool, we are discovering many new dimensions of the intersection between the use of narrative practices, evidence based positive psychology interventions and action explorations. We are grateful to have had this spontaneous learning experience in our home community. Thank you to ASGPP and our fabulous group. 

May 16, 2017

Featured on the TiLT Parenting Podcast

From the TiLT Parenting Podcast "A conversation with Giselle Marzo Segura, a designer, teacher, mentor, writer and solutions thinker based in Miami, Florida, who is also the parent of a differently-wired daughter. As a result of her journey with her daughter, Giselle was moved to create a venture called Strength Clusters, which is all about helping people understand and connect with each other through the language of character strengths.


I’ll let Giselle tell you her whole story, because it’s very inspiring and personal, but for now, I’ll let you know that we’re going to be talking about his idea of why current systems aimed at supporting differently-wired kids do so by focusing on the deficits. We’ll also get into how truly transformational it can be, not just for the child but for the whole family, when we flip that on its head and focus on an individual’s strengths."



  • The cost of not allowing differently-wired kids to hang out in their areas of strength for large chunks of the day

  • Why Giselle believes differently-wired kids need the opportunity to express what’s inside of them

  • What the language of positive psychology and character strengths is

  • What happens when the whole family views each other through the lens of character strengths and is on the same page

  • The magic of looking at a child as a whole person

  • That there are other types of learning beyond cognitive learning, such as learning through the body and emotions

September 01, 2016

From the Mat: Inaugural IPEN Festival Focuses on Strengths, and More

Excerpt from the article:


"Sharing Strengths:


On the last day, a group of five or six attendees gathered to watch CiPP alum Giselle Marzo Segura demonstrate her Strength Clusters toolbox, including the Strength Clusters mat. First, she invited each person to choose a strength that they had used in accomplishing something, and gave them a card representing that strength.


Peter, a member of the group, was asked to share why he had chosen creativity. He described how he had

helped a team come up with a novel solution to a problem at work. The rest of us were asked to observe which strengths we heard as we listened to his story. One by one, we offered him a card. Cards for kindness, love, judgment, humanity, and social intelligence were thrust into his hand. After just a minute, he was clutching a pile of strengths cards. 


Peter was holding his strengths in the palm of his hand. He shared with us that he felt acknowledged, recognized, and affirmed—by complete strangers. 


Next, Giselle asked each person to take a place on the mat, standing on a strength that they use every day. Once we’d done so, Giselle pointed out that, although we had all chosen different strengths, we were standing close together. Despite our differences, our strengths unite us and allow us to complement each other. 

Next, everyone chose a strength they admire and would like to have more of (a friend of mine calls this “strengths envy”). During this exercise, there were happy collisions, hugs, and laughter, as the members of the group joyfully shared strengths with one another. 


In only a few minutes, a group of strangers had become a community, sharing a moment in time that was focused on the good. This is the power of strengths—and it is a key to the power of positive education. 


Do you know your strengths?

February 17, 2016


A little over two years ago, my husband and I sat once again in the psychologist’s office, reviewing the fourth and most recent psycho-educational evaluation for our daughter. Her learning difficulties and confusing diagnoses had taken us on a journey through diverse academic settings — from private to public, to special schooling. For the past six years, we had done everything possible to follow the recommendations noted in each of the prior reports with numerous types of therapies, tutoring, interventions and medication. Despite all the interventions, our daughter was not making progress. We needed to do something drastically different.


After patiently listening to the results, I gathered the courage to ask, “where are the strengths in this evaluation?”

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