What Is a Strength-Based Approach? (Incl. Examples & Tools)
For me, “strength” makes me think of words like “sturdy,” “solid,” and, conversely, “weak.”
I also think of my personal strengths. For example, a person can believe their strengths are patience, optimism, and persistence.
In this article, we will be reviewing strength-based approaches in positive psychology. The strength-based approach focuses on the positive attributes of a person or a group, rather than the negative. There are multiple ways the strength-based approach can be applied, including in leadership, counseling, community and social work, and pediatrics.
Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Strengths Exercises for free . These detailed, science-based exercises will help you or your clients realize your unique potential and create a life that feels energized and authentic.
This Article Contains:
What is the strength-based approach, principles of the strength-based approach, 4 examples of a strength-based approach, using the approach in counseling, what are the benefits of this approach, are there any disadvantages to the model, can it improve mental health, a look at strength-based interventions, interesting studies, the clifton strengthsfinder, values in action inventory of strengths (via-is), 9 useful activities, 16 strength-based questions, strength-based approach applications, a take-home message.
With its foundation in social work, the strength-based approach is a “work practice theory” that focuses on an individual’s self-determination and strength (McCashen, 2005).
This type of approach builds on clients’ strengths , seeing them as resourceful and resilient when they are in adverse conditions (McCashen, 2005). It is also client led and centered on outcomes, getting people to affect change in themselves.
Change happens depending on how each person handles their own:
- Attitudes about their dignity
The strength-based approach is centered around the idea that the client is the actor or agent of change. The approach is highly dependent on how the individual processes their thoughts and emotions. It allows for open communication, encouraging individuals to identify value and assemble their strengths and capacities.
The strength-based approach allows a person to see themselves at their best – the value they bring by just being themselves. They are encouraged to capitalize on their strengths rather than focus on negative characteristics.
The strength-based approach examines not only the individual, but also their environment; for example, how systems are set up or power imbalances between a system or service and the people it is supposed to serve.
In addition, the strength-based approach identifies constraints that might be holding back an individual’s growth. These constraints might be social, personal, and/or cultural issues (McCashen, 2016).
Rapp et al. (2008) suggested six standards for identifying a strengths-based approach (below). You can use this list when considering if the strength-based approach might be a good fit for your practice.
- Goal orientation: It is crucial and vital for the client to set goals.
- Strengths assessment: The client finds and assesses their strengths and inherent resources.
- Resources from the environment: Connect resources in the client’s environment that can be useful or enable them to create links to these resources. The resources could be individuals, associations, institutions, or groups.
- Different methods are used first for different situations: In solution-focused therapy, clients will determine goals first and then strengths. In strengths-based case management, individuals first determine their strengths using an assessment.
- The relationship is hope inducing: Hope is encouraged through finding strengths and linking to connections (with other people, communities, or culture).
- Meaningful choice: Each person is an expert on their own strengths, resources, and hopes. It is the practitioner’s duty to improve upon the choices the client makes and encourage informed decisions.
There are nine guiding principles that serve as the foundation of the strength-based approach (Hammond, 2010).
- Everyone possesses a uniqueness that helps them evolve and move along their journey. These characteristics may include potential strengths and capabilities.
- What receives attention or focus becomes what the client strives for and, eventually, a reality.
- Be careful with your words and language. Our language creates our reality.
- Accept change. Life and our world are ever evolving; don’t resist.
- Support others as authentically as you can. You will see that your relationships are deeper and more meaningful.
- The client is the storyteller of their own story.
- Build upon what you know and experience to dream of the future.
- Capacity building has multiple facets and organizations. Be flexible.
- Be collaborative. Be adaptive and value differences.
The strengths based approach – experiencing success in meaningful ways – TeamResil
Let’s review some examples of a strength-based approach.
- In the corporate world, many human resources managers conduct performance reviews. These reviews hopefully benefit the employees, their supervisors, and the overall flow of the organization. Some of the key benefits can be improved performance, communication opportunities, and data on decision-making (Coens & Jenkins, 2000).
- Each of us encounters difficulty at some point in life. In crisis mode, the last thing we may want to think about is our strengths. However, when these trying situations arise, we need help in identifying our strengths. It is vital for healthcare professionals working with people going through crises to listen and identify strengths and resources.
- For certain clients, pursuing support and attending an appointment is a big task, and it should be recognized as a strength. For instance, if you are helping someone who does not have safe and secure housing, it may be important to empower them to build strong relationships with their family and friends. Another great way to empower your clients is to remind them to utilize their resources, resilience, and strength to tackle any challenges.
- A great part of going through this conversation is that people’s strengths will crop up. It becomes natural for the client to share their strengths, and when reflecting back to the client, it can be helpful to acknowledge and validate those strengths.
Positive psychotherapy may include a strength-based approach, where the practitioner focuses on the strengths and resourcefulness of their client, rather than their weaknesses, deficits, or failures (Basic Counseling Skills, n.d.).
This helps the client build a mindset focused on positive capacity building and helps them understand that they are resilient, leading to more reasonable expectations of themselves and others (Basic Counseling Skills, n.d.).
Strength-based therapy is a form of talk therapy where the client is the storyteller. The story may include trauma, pain, and stressors from the past or present. The practitioner encourages the client to have the mindset of a survivor rather than a victim. Doing so can give the client a better understanding of and control over their skills and strengths (Basic Counseling Skills, n.d.). These skills and strengths enable them to survive and flourish no matter how tough life gets.
Hammond (2010) offers the following list of benefits of the strength-based approach.
- Focusing on strengths rather than problems offers the client control and a new mindset.
- The client’s resilience and overall function in their family and community are improved.
- The strength-based approach offers a shared language and philosophy.
- Resilience is the goal, which offers the client a theoretical map to follow for prevention and evaluation.
- Intervention tactics are client driven and relationship minded.
- Distressed people are engaged with respect and compassion.
- The approach respects that it takes time to build clients’ capacities.
- The approach sees people as creating and rebuilding, rather than broken or failing.
- With improved resilience come additional benefits, including feeling special, valued, and optimistic, and understanding that life is a journey.
- Clients learn how to set goals and expectations, cope in a healthy way that fosters growth, and confront rather than avoid challenges.
- The approach doesn’t ignore vulnerabilities or weaknesses.
- The approach builds self-esteem and competence.
- Clients learn effective interpersonal skills in order to look for assistance and support when needed.
- Clients better understand what can and cannot be controlled.
- Clients are better able to support others, giving time to those that they care about.
- The approach encourages clients to connect to social support like family or community to nurture their growth.
Some consider the main focus of the strength-based approach to be its primary disadvantage. Dr. Jason Jones (2017) explains this very well by asserting that while it’s great to focus on strengths, we should not utterly neglect weaknesses. If weaknesses are poorly managed, they may not be monitored, leaving the person less effective.
Jones is not the only one to carefully and constructively point out some flaws in the method. Other researchers (e.g., McMillen et al., 2004; Staudt et al., 2001) have claimed that the strength-based approach is not really offering anything novel, nor is it based on evidence of efficacy.
The strengths-based approach can improve mental health, but only if it is fully embraced.
The most important factor in determining whether the approach is effective is the client. Crucially, this approach can still be effective for clients with mental health issues, as it has a strong focus on recovery and positive psychology (Peterson & Seligman, 2004).
There are quite a few strength-based interventions designed for different types of clients or groups.
For example, some approaches are better for individuals, associations, organizations, or other communities (Foot & Hopkins, 2010).
The practice of using the strengths-based approach is ever-evolving and has many configurations (Foot & Hopkins, 2010). For instance, practitioners may use a single method or a combination, depending on the individual client’s needs (Pattoni, 2012).
Some examples of the strength-based approach in practice are below.
Solution-focused therapy (SFT)
As its name suggests, SFT focuses on solutions rather than problems. SFT and solution-focused brief therapy have been used in a variety of settings, including family service, mental health, public social services, child welfare, prison, residential treatment centers, schools, and hospitals (Miller et al., 1996).
You can find a list of SFT techniques and worksheets here .
Strengths-based case management
Like all applications of the strength-based approach, strength-based case management focuses on the individual’s strengths. Importantly, it involves the following three principles:
- Utilization of informal support networks
- Solid community involvement by case managers
- A solid relationship between the client and case manager
Strengths-based case management has been utilized in a diversity of fields and populations, including substance abuse, mental health, school counseling, elderly care, children, and young families (Rapp et al., 2008).
Practitioners can use narrative to get the client to tell a story, teasing apart the client’s strengths and resilience skills. The basis of this method is that we each live our lives based on our experiences or our story. However, we often forget that we are the main actor and that we have many strengths.
Our problems are separate from us; when a person can learn to separate themselves from their problems, they learn how to face it and build resilience (Epston et al., 1992).
Family support services
Family support services aim to support the family when there are dangerous issues that can affect the child’s welfare. Family support services work to empower and connect the family as a team or unit so that they have the same end goal: being together (Green et al., 2004).
A strong and suitable critique for the strength-based approach is that there is a lack of strong supporting evidence (Lietz, 2009). However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t any. More and more evidence is showing the real effects of the strength-based approach.
Strength-based approach and improving social connections
Foot and Hopkins (2010) found that there is power in support. Supportive communities that develop strength-based approaches in their services and functions can empower their residents.
Foot and Hopkins (2010) also found that when you cheer people on or encourage them to be proud of their achievements and contributions, their confidence increases. Further, people who are more confident in their ability add more to the community.
Gilchrist (2009) also notes the importance of communities networking with each other. This helps individuals and families build their community even wider. The wider community allows for an increase in resilience, which then improves wellbeing and quality of life.
The strength-based approach is also used in the family justice research realm. Shapiro et al. (n.d.) found that this approach can reduce drug use, rates of arrest, and conviction, and increase the level of social functioning for an individual.
Utilizing the strength-based approach, case managers are able to make lasting effects on individuals. The case managers aren’t really the main actors; it’s actually the individual’s community or network who make the biggest impact (Shapiro et al., n.d.).
Networks can have a larger impact on an individual because they “can provide unparalleled insight into the strengths, talents, and challenges of a loved one, as well as advice about how best to connect with that individual” (Shapiro et al., n.d., p. 20).
Strength-based approach and enhancing wellbeing
A pilot study conducted by Ralph et al. (1996) looked at the effect of the strength-based approach on the hope of people with severe mental illness.
The participants were asked to select and define factors they thought were needed for recovery. The most important elements identified included the ability to have hope and developing trust in one’s own thoughts and judgments (Ralph et al., 1996).
Smock et al. (2008) and Park et al. (2004) found that using the strength-based approach helps individuals develop and maintain a strong sense of wellbeing . People who can find hope and inspiration using their strengths have a stronger sense of wellbeing (Smock et al., 2008).
Many of us have taken or administered personality tests to help gain insight into who we are. One such widely regarded test is the Clifton StrengthsFinder , which focuses specifically on strengths.
American psychotherapist Donald Clifton developed the Clifton StrengthsFinder after many years in social work, counseling psychology , positive psychology, solution-focused therapy, and narrative therapy (Buckingham & Clifton, 2001).
The StrengthsFinder assessment helps you or your client to:
- Discover what you naturally do best
- Learn how to develop your greatest talents
- Use your customized results to live your best life
Peterson et al.’s (2005) self-report questionnaire, the Values in Action Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS) “measures 24 widely valued character strengths . ”
In progress toward creating the VIA-IS, Peterson and Seligman (2004) created a handbook to focus on the positive aspects of an individual, which they informally dubbed the “Manual of the Sanities.” The handbook focuses on human strengths rather than weaknesses or pathologies (Ruch et al., 2010).
Peterson and Seligman (2004) classified six universal virtues and 24 character strengths (along with 10 criteria for a positive trait to be included as a character strength).
Dahlsgaard et al. (2005) found those core virtues of courage, justice, humanity, temperance, wisdom, and transcendence to be rooted in their research of philosophy and spirituality writings from China, South Asia, and the West.
Peterson and Seligman (2004) defined character strengths as the processes and mechanisms that lead to the virtues. For instance, wisdom (a virtue) can be attained through creativity and curiosity (character strengths).
Table 1. Classification of 6 core virtues and 24 strengths of character (Ruch et al., 2010)
Virtue I. Wisdom and knowledge: cognitive strengths that entail the acquisition and use of knowledge
(1) Creativity : thinking of novel and productive ways to do things (2) Curiosity: taking an interest in all of an ongoing experience (3) Open-mindedness: thinking things through and examining them from all sides (4) Love of learning: mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge (5) Perspective: being able to provide wise counsel to others
Virtue II. Courage: emotional strengths that involve the exercise of will to accomplish goals in the face of opposition, external or internal
(6) Bravery: not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain (7) Persistence: finishing what one starts (8) Honesty: speaking the truth and presenting oneself in a genuine way (9) Zest : approaching life with excitement and energy
Virtue III. Humanity: interpersonal strengths that involve tending and befriending others.
(10) Love: valuing close relations with others (11) Kindness : doing favors and good deeds for others (12) Social intelligence: being aware of the motives and feelings of self and others
Virtue IV. Justice: civic strengths that underlie a healthy community life
(13) Teamwork : working well as a member of a group or team (14) Fairness: treating all people the same according to notions of fairness and justice (15) Leadership: organizing group activities and seeing that they happen
Virtue V. Temperance: strengths that protect against excess
(16) Forgiveness : forgiving those who have done wrong (17) Modesty: letting one’s accomplishments speak for themselves (18) Prudence: being careful about one’s choices; not saying or doing things that might later be regretted (19) Self-regulation : regulating what one feels and does
Virtue VI. Transcendence: strengths that forge connections to the larger universe and provide meaning
(20) Appreciation of beauty and excellence: noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in all domains of life (21) Gratitude: being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen (22) Hope : expecting the best and working to achieve it (23) Humor: liking to laugh and joke; bringing smiles to other people (24) Religiousness: having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of life
The VIA-IS is a helpful tool when trying to understand fully what a person has to offer in a very systematic way.
The VIA-IS does not add up all the strengths assigned to a virtue, and significantly, it is very rare for an individual to display all the strengths a virtue comprises (Peterson & Seligman, 2004).
When dealing with a client, encourage them to lead the conversation and decision-making process.
Use these activities to help along the way (Kate Pascale and Associates, 2019, p. 5):
- “Work on what’s most important and meaningful to the client (consider their values, motivations, and readiness to change)
- Ask open-ended questions so the client has the opportunity to tell their story
- Ask the client what they’d like to get out of your conversation/work together.
- Encourage the client to share their ideas about possible solutions, opportunities etc.
- If you’re doing a home visit, actively acknowledge that you’re a guest in the person’s home. Ask them where they’d like to sit and be guided by them. When a client visits your workplace, ask them where they’d be most comfortable sitting etc.
- Consider the cultural, religious or social groups that the client identifies with and think about how to create a safe and inclusive conversation with the person
- Utilise your skills of observation and pick up on cues in the home environment to build rapport, improve conversation flow and direct the conversation in meaningful ways.”
A very useful strength-based activity is to write in a gratitude journal.
Here’s how you or your client can start a gratitude journal :
Part one – day end At the end of the day, list four things that you are grateful for and that went well. They must always be stated in the positive. Here is what I might write down, even on a day where lots of things have gone wrong:
- Really good cup of coffee at 10 am
- Rode my bike to work, there and back
- Watched a YouTube video about a cat that made me laugh and laugh and laugh
- Hubby made a great salad at suppertime
You don’t have to limit the list to four things – I aim for 10.
Part two – day beginning Over breakfast, write down four things you’re looking forward to. Again, here is how my list might look, even if my day is likely to be very stressful:
- Am going to watch a movie tonight
- Will have a peanut butter and banana sandwich at lunch – yum, yum
- A colleague and I will have a lunchtime walk
- Can listen to classical music today while writing (overdue) reports
Another great exercise is called the “peak experience” exercise. It is simple, very motivating, and used by coaches (Driver, 2011).
- Ask the coachee to name two or three times when they’ve been at their best. The times they recall can be of any interval of time, from a few minutes to a year.
- If needed, specify that “at your best” needs to be something special and meaningful to the coachee and the coachee only. Remind them that this is not a time to impress anyone or to compare themselves and their special moments to anyone. [A great example of this step is when a client “talked about learning to ride a bike, aged 43. For them, this represented courage, perseverance and a commitment to learning – and the fact that many people learn to ride before they start school was irrelevant” (Driver, 2011, p. 19).]
- Have the coachee share their experience by recalling in detail exactly what happened from start to end.
- Keep track of each example and how it is a possible strength as they are talking.
- Once they have told the full story, offer them the list you’ve written and discuss their strengths.
“M eaningful questions that will combat the relentless pursuit of pathology, and ones that will help discover hidden strengths that contain the seeds to construct solutions to otherwise unsolvable problems ”
Graybeal, 2001, p. 235
Here is a list of questions that aim to assess a client’s strengths (Smith, 2017).
- “What do you like to do in your spare time?
- What energises you?
- How would your close friends describe you?
- Do you most like starting tasks or finishing them?
- Do you prefer the big picture or the small details?
- Describe a successful day. What made it successful?
- What are you good at?
- What are your weaknesses?
- What did you enjoy studying at school or university?
- When did you achieve something you’re really proud of?
- What do you enjoy doing the least?
- Do you find there are enough hours in the day to complete your to-do list?
- What tasks are always left on your to-do list?
- How do you stay motivated?
- How do you feel about deadlines?
- Have you ever done something differently the second time around?”
Using the approach in disability and elderly care
Here are some additional questions for those who are disabled or receiving elderly care (Kate Pascale and Associates, 2019, pp. 6–7).
“Exploring the current situation
- What are you doing / managing well?
- What are you currently doing independently?
- What are you feeling good about?
- What’s working well for you at the moment?
- What does a good day look like for you? What makes it a good day?
Skills, personal qualities / attributes, knowledge
- Tell me something you are really proud of.
- What do you like about yourself?
- What do you think you do really well?
- What is something that your friends and family would say you’re great at?
- What would the people closest to you describe as your superpower?
Exploring interests, hobbies
- What do you enjoy?
- What are your interests?
- How do you like to spend your time?
Support network, community connections
- Who’s important to you?
- What connections do you have in your community? (e.g. family, friends, groups, services)
- What role do you play in the lives of the people you care about?
- Who supports you in your day-to-day life? In what way?
- Who can you count on?
Resources (e.g. physical, financial)
- What resources do you have around you to make this easier?
- Do you have any equipment, aids or tools that are helpful for you?
- Is there anything in your environment that you do/can use?
Understand challenges in context
- Are there times when ‘the problem’ isn’t happening or ‘positive behavior’ does happen? What happens on those days? What does that look like?
- How have you managed ‘the problem’ until now?
Exploring values and motivation
- What’s important to you?
- What are the things in your life that you really value?
- What would you like to get out of our work together?
Exploring opportunities / strategies
- What’s worked for you in the past / what have you tried? (e.g. strategies / tools / resources / supports / skills)
- What strategies have you put in place?
- How have you adapted?
- What have you learned so far that could be helpful moving forward?
- How can we build on where you are now?
- What’s one thing that you could do to take a step in the right direction?”
These questions allow the social worker or related healthcare professional to understand the experience the client is having at the moment. In addition, they allow for conversation about their environment, needs, and inherent resources and strengths.
A strength-based focus in social work
The key to helping people is to have them recover and then to feel empowered and committed to the change or process that needs to happen (Pulla, 2017). Utilizing the strength-based approach, social workers have found that three pertinent questions have been the most useful in getting the conversation started: “What has worked for you before? What does not work for you? And what might work in the present situation for you?” (Pulla, 2017, p. 97).
Once the conversation has started, four core elements can be expanded on, including (Pulla, 2017, p. 99):
- “All people have strengths and capacities
- People can change
- People change and grow through their strengths and capacities
- Problems can blind people from noticing their strengths
- People do have expertise to solve the problem”
“Empowerment theories identify and assist individuals and communities to recognize barriers and dynamics that permit oppression to persist including circumstances and actions that promote change, human empowerment, and liberation.”
Here is a list of questions that social workers can use to direct attention to identify strengths (Saleebey, 2006; Pulla, 2017, p. 108).
- How have you managed to survive this far given all the challenges you have had to contend with?
- Who are the special people on whom you can depend?
- When things were going well in life, what was different?
- What are your special talents and abilities?
- When people say good things about you, what are they likely to say?
- What are your ideas about your current situation?
- What has worked in the past to bring a better life for you?”
The strength-based approach finds a nice home in social work because “the principles of caring and caretaking, nurturing and ensuring that members of our society and our organisations in turn become resilient and hopeful is clearly within the scope of strengths approaches” (Pulla, 2017, p. 100).
Using a strength-based approach in early childhood
Early childhood is such a beautiful time. Children are learning how to do things and what they like. When using the strength-based approach in early childhood, consider the same aspects you would for an adult, pay attention to what the child likes, and offer a variety of ways for the child to learn (Bronfenbrenner, 1994).
A great way for children to develop their strengths is to live expressively. Children can express themselves in all sorts of ways, and this can lend itself well to understanding what someone truly enjoys and is good at (Bronfenbrenner, 1994).
How to use the approach in childcare and preschool
The strength-based approach fits really nicely with childcare and preschool. As every child is different, children have their unique strengths. Using the strength-based approach, early childhood educators are able to fit the curriculum to the child (Bronfenbrenner, 1994).
The strength-based approach falls in line with the ecological model of child development, where children, not the curriculum, are at the center of education. As children are learning and developing, their capabilities, competencies, and strengths and talents are maturing (Bronfenbrenner, 1994).
Because children are constantly developing in multiple learning environments (home and school), their home language and culture should be acknowledged. The child’s home language(s) and culture(s) are meaningful contributors to their development and learning experience (Bronfenbrenner, 1994).
For early childhood professionals who work with children that speak more than one language, recognizing the child’s linguistic abilities is important. Early childhood professionals should support children in preserving their primary language while learning another (Bronfenbrenner, 1994).
In addition, each of us can learn in different ways, and there are certain ways of learning that really speak to us. For children, it is really best to show them that they can learn in multiple ways (Bronfenbrenner, 1994).
Gardner’s (2011) theory of multiple intelligences theorizes that children create meaning by engaging in a variety of methods: linguistic, special, interpersonal, logical-mathematical, etc. Each method offers variety and multiple ways to make learning meaningful and engaging.
It’s really interesting that the strength-based approach molds itself to what is meaningful to the child as well as the practitioner (Bronfenbrenner, 1994). Practitioners who utilize the strength-based approach should practice self-reflection to understand their own values and how their professional practice can affect each child’s unique learning style and strengths (McCashen, 2005).
5 Tips for using it with youth
The following tips, adapted from Hammond & Zimmerman (2012), can be helpful when using a strength-based approach with youth.
- Emphasize a positive outcome: Focus on positive and healthy outcomes, like self-confidence, connectedness, and a healthy relationship with family, friends, and the community. Other positive outcomes could be having a strong character and being caring and compassionate.
- Youth should be involved in decisions: Youth should be voicing their opinions and reasoning for decisions regarding community care programs.
- Long-term involvement teaches sustainment: Youth who can maintain a long-term commitment learn how to create sustainable and supportive relationships and be effective in the long term.
- Involve the community: Building on strengths is highly dependent on youth involvement with the community (family, friends, neighborhood etc.).
- Emphasize collaboration: Youth need to feel empowered and supported by community collaboration to engage their strengths.
I hope this piece gave you a thorough and complete overview of the strength-based approach and some insightful information. The great thing about the strength-based approach is that it is so relatable when being used, especially when the activities can help pull out these strengths.
If there’s one thing you should take away from this piece, it’s that your strengths have been with you from the very beginning. Sometimes it takes thinking back to when you were a kid, what you were good at, and what you enjoyed to remember your strengths.
Feel free to refer back to this piece if you’re ever feeling like you aren’t good enough or don’t have any skills or traits that make you useful, because you absolutely do. If you find any of this information helpful, please leave a comment below.
Thanks for reading. I wish you the best and hope that you can find your strengths and use them daily — it makes you feel good and it’s energizing.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Strengths Exercises for free .
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Strengths-Based Approaches in Social Work and Social Care: Reviewing the Evidence
- Alisoun Milne
- Julie Beadle-Brown
- Alisoun Milne , University of Kent, United Kingdom
- Julie Beadle-Brown , University of Kent, United Kingdom
Context: There is substantial policy support for strengths-based approaches to social work and social care. These new models of care promote the deployment of ‘strengths’ including personal, social and community resources to empower individuals to achieve their desired outcomes. Although a number of strengths-based models have been developed it is not known whether and how they work, or which model works best for whom and in what circumstances.
Objectives: A scoping review of evidence was conducted between July and September 2019. Its primary aim was to explore the nature and extent of evidence in relationship to strengths-based approaches in social work and social care for adults; also how these approaches impact on practice and on outcomes for social care service users and their families.
Methods: A database search was conducted for the period 2009 to 2019 to identify peer-reviewed and grey literature publications on the use of strengths (or asset) based approaches in social work and social care. A total of 72 items were included.
Findings: Strengths-based approaches are being embraced by policy makers and practitioners but questions remain about: their definition (how they are distinct from other approaches, and how they should be conceptualised); their effectiveness and feasibility (including their intersection with local authority eligibility thresholds); and how they should/can be evaluated. Specific research needs to be done to evaluate the precise nature of strengths-based approaches in social work and social care, their impact on users and carers quality of life and well being and the outcomes achieved.
Limitations: The review may be limited by the lack of evidence in a relatively under-researched area of practice. Study designs were varied and included a number of qualitative case studies but very few quantitative or RCT based studies.
Implications: This review has brought evidence together, extended understanding about strengths-based approaches in social work and social care for adults and offered us a platform upon which to develop models of evaluation.
- Page/Article: 401–422
- Accepted on 25 Aug 2021
- Published on 8 Dec 2021
- Peer Reviewed
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Strength-Based Perspective Of Social Work Essay
The herman case.
Social workers have several responsibilities. They have to provide service, justice, and dignity to a client. They have to possess integrity, competence, and patience. Social workers need to possess knowledge of human rights, and how to perform scientific inquiry. Social workers occasionally have cases in which problems ensue and a solution is not found within a certain time frame. Social workers must be able to act on an issue quickly and effectively. Situations can vary depending on the case, the client, and the persons involved in the case.
Strengths-Based Approach In Social Work Paper
If the social worker does not start where the client is, the consequences are that the social worker will give advice too soon/quickly and there will be no connection between the social worker at the client. Or in-depths assessment. Building rapport with the clients is one of the most important counseling skills to possess. According to Benatar, approximately 40 percent of client change
Nasw Code Of Ethics Analysis
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW, 2009) Code of Ethics is a guide to social workers’ practice by offering standards, values, and principles. The Code of Ethics is useful in facilitating the social workers’ decision-making process when he is presented with complicate ethical issues. Ethical issues arise with conflicting values, principles, and standards. These conflicts may occur between the social worker and his clients, agency, or institutional policy, other social workers, professional in other disciplines, or the social worker’s personal values.
Personal Identity In Social Work
Who I identify as, including identifying as a social worker once I graduate, will have some level privilege and power attached to the chosen identities. Gelfand, Sillivan, and Steinhouse (2002) noted that there are may dimensions that influence our personal and professional relationships with others, and these dimensions shape how we see and interact with, include or exclude them, and ways that we oppress or discriminate against them. As a social worker whose clients share my same identity, we may benefit by my having a shared understanding of cultural norms and expectations to reach a common goal. For clients who share commonalities with me, we may benefit by being able to work more collaboratively and possibly a more trusting relationship than one that must be built over time. However, just as similarities can be empowering, I must remember that the client knows best despite our shared identities that may speak otherwise. In addition, challenges can arise when there is no commonality in identities or when identities between myself and a client are radically different. In these times, as a social worker who has a degree of power in a relationship with people seeking help, that I must acknowledge to myself that my power can impede on inclusively practicing and remain self-aware (Gelfand, Sullivan, & Steinhouse,
Strength Based Theory In Social Work
According to Jacqueline Corcoran (2011), people were basically viewed in terms of their pathologies, weaknesses, limitations, and problems. However, in strengths-based models, in contrast, the helper, in collaboration with the client system, identifies and amplifies existing client system capacities to resolve problems and improve quality of life. Strengths-based approaches can be viewed as respectful toward and empowering of the oppressed and vulnerable people to which the field of social work traditionally has been committed (Corcoran,
Empowerment Theory In Social Work
Modern social workers are frequently tasked with certain objectives by their agencies, which leave little room for any work beyond specific treatments and timeframes (Gitterman & Knight, 2016). Although social workers are bound to the set of ethics put forth by the NASW, practitioners are often limited to focusing on the issues of the individual rather than the larger societal issues that may be behind those concerns. Additionally, many social work students end up working in direct practice, rather than macro work. There is a need for social workers to engage at the macro level in order to facilitate community organization and empowerment.
Social Work Ethics
The basic purpose of social work is to help individuals improve the quality of their lives. Social work is a helping profession and, resultantly, social workers are oftentimes referred to as change agents. They empower individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations to reach their full potential and enable them to make the necessary changes in their lives. They encourage clients to be self-determined and reinforce their ability to change and to focus on their own needs. Social workers strive to make contributions to the knowledge base of this profession. Social workers abide by ethical principles that are based on six core values which include service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships,
Critical Reflection On Social Work
In order for the social worker to be an effective practitioner, man must have a sound theoretical basis and this is not easy to achieve.
Social Work Reflection Essay
Prior to starting this course the MA Social Work course and the PPSWP module I felt very confident in the aspects of communicating effectively and working with a diverse range of people, and after the reading the professional capabilities framework I believe that I hold the same personal values which is expected of a social worker. The PCF6 talks about the importance of critical reflection and reflective practice explaining that it helps improve accountability, professional development and helps to you understand your own tacit knowledge and gain new knowledge, which improves outcomes and experiences for social workers. (Capabilities within the PCF, 2016)
Social Constructivist Approach In Social Work
This is difficult process and should be coupled with use of theoretical approaches. Adams et al (2008) advocates that social workers need to use an eclectic approach to their practice by selecting different elements from theories in order to produce one approach appropriate for the individual’s needs. Epstein (1992) suggests that to overcome the limitations of theories continuous reflection and debate is vital to incorporate complex
The Importance Of Empathy In Social Work
In the reading, the author discusses throughout the chapter skills and techniques in the middle phase of working with a service user. Honesty is a value that is highly respected in the social work profession because it creates authenticity and trust in the therapeutic alliance. I agree with the statement completely, as I believe that being honest in regards to what one is feeling as a social worker allows the service user to be honest with how they are feeling as well. Further,
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Social Work Case Study
This involves systematically examining survival skills, abilities, knowledge, resources and desires that can be used in some way to help meet client goals (Saleebey, 1996). The helping process from initial contact, goal identification, assessment and intervention to evaluation has the underlying assumptions that human beings have the capacity for growth and change (Weick, 1992), knowledge about one 's situation (Early & GlenMaye, 2000), resilience (Garmezy, 1994) and membership (Walzer, 1983). The major focus in practice from the strengths approach is collaboration and partnership between social workers and clients. Other methods include environment modification and advocacy (Early & GlenMaye, 2000). Tim explained to the students that he “tell the folks what he can do and what he can’t” Tim further explained that “I make it a policy never to do anything for the clients that they can do for themselves”. Tim identifies his clients’ strengths and work around that to enhance and empower them. Although, strength based proposed to work with the clients’ strength it must be elaborated that the approach must be a partnership with both client and social worker; it is a collaborative approach. People are seen as being experts on their own situation (Poertner & Ronnau, 1992; Saleebey, 1992c; Sullivan & Rapp, 1994; Weick et al., 1989) then
Social Work: Ethical Principles: Importance Of Human Relationships
Social workers treat each person in a caring and respectful fashion, mindful of individual differences and cultural and ethnic diversity. Social workers promote clients ' socially responsible self-determination. Social workers seek to enhance clients ' capacity and opportunity to change and to address their own needs. Social workers are cognizant of their dual responsibility to clients and to the broader society. They seek to resolve conflicts between clients ' interests and the broader society 's interests in a socially responsible manner consistent with the values, ethical principles, and ethical standards of the profession (National Association of Social Worker) (2018).
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Strength-Based Approach To Social Work
Show More 3. As a social worker, working with Andrew would be incredibly difficult, as rectifying all the harm that was done by the child welfare system would require intense interventions in order to restore Andrew’s emotional wellbeing. Andrew has lived in 19 residences throughout his 17 years, and it has been proven that frequently moving children around, is detrimental to their emotional wellbeing, and destroys a growing adolescent’s sense of stability. A lack of stability is evident within Andrew’s story, as moving frequently became a norm for him in his personal life, and behaviour issues and struggles in school were rampant throughout his life. Therefore, in restoring Andrew’s sense of stability, I would employ a strengths based approach to social work intervention. …show more content… A strength that I would identify with Andrew is his resiliency throughout his experience in the child welfare system, the system has been proven to be overpopulated and short of emotional and material resources. However, Andrew stayed strong, and even stayed resilient when he was placed in a homeless shelter by his social worker. If Andrew defines himself by his resilience and strength, as opposed to his limitations, it will lead to empowerment and personal growth. As this approach will give Andrew a sense of self-determination and autonomy within his life, which is something that has been taken away from him throughout his time in the Children’s Aid Society. This approach is intrinsically linked with a structural social work perspective. As the main goal of structural social work is to empower and advocate for clients, which is the primary goal of a strengths based approach (Mbakogu, 2016, 14). Therefore, a structural social work perspective and a strengths based approach, both aim to give a voice to the voiceless, in this case giving Andrew the right to
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What Is Strengths-Based Therapy?
Dr. Amy Marschall is an autistic clinical psychologist with ADHD, working with children and adolescents who also identify with these neurotypes among others. She is certified in TF-CBT and telemental health.
Dr. Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and a professor at Yeshiva University’s clinical psychology doctoral program.
Renata Angerami / Getty Images
What Strengths-Based Therapy Can Help With
Things to Consider
How to get started.
Strengths-based therapy is a theoretical orientation and approach to psychotherapy treatment based in positive psychology . A strengths-based therapist focuses on the client’s existing resources, resilience, and positive qualities in an effort to use these abilities to improve quality of life and reduce problematic symptoms.
Strengths-based therapy can be utilized in conjunction with other orientations, including cognitive-behavioral therapy , humanistic therapy , and narrative therapy . Therapists might also use a strengths-based approach if they are engaging in solution-focused therapy , brief motivational interviewing , or interpersonal therapy .
The aim of strengths-based therapy is to improve the client’s mindset and instill a positive world view so they can perceive themselves as resourceful and resilient when they are experiencing adverse conditions. What makes this approach different is its focus on identifying factors that might be holding back the person’s growth. It empowers clients to be the agent of change by creating an inductive environment for change.
A strengths-based therapist focuses on the client’s existing resources, resilience, and positive qualities in an effort to use these abilities to improve quality of life and reduce problematic symptoms.
Techniques of Strengths-Based Therapy
As with all therapeutic approaches, a therapist will choose techniques based on the client’s unique needs. A strengths-based therapist might use some of the following techniques in their sessions:
- Identifying Client Strengths: The therapist will provide a list of strengths with definitions and work with the client to identify which strengths apply. Clients can use the list as a starting point to identify their strengths.
- Looking for Signs of Strength: This intervention is more open-ended and involves asking questions such as, “What are you good at?” This helps the client identify pre-existing areas of strength. It is less structured than identifying strengths from a list, which might allow the client to identify strengths that might not have been included on the list.
- Re-Framing: A strengths-based therapist will encourage the client to examine weaknesses and identify ways that these qualities can be re-framed as strengths. For example, someone who worries about what others are thinking might be very compassionate and caring. This is used as a starting point to identify how behaviors or qualities can be used to improve the client’s mindset or quality of life.
- Strengths Journaling: The therapist will ask the client to keep a journal tracking their strengths to help practice identifying these strengths and the situations where the strength benefited them. This improves mindfulness and helps the client notice existing strengths in their daily life.
- Asking Strengths Growth Questions: The therapist will ask questions to help the client identify how and when a strength benefits them to help channel and use the strength in the most effective way possible. These questions can include things like, “When is a time I could have used this strength?” or “When is a time that I relied too heavily on this strength?”
Strengths-based therapy can be helpful for many different presenting concerns. It can help boost self-esteem and confidence, and there is evidence that this approach can be beneficial for individuals with depression or anxiety . In addition, it can help individuals recovering from trauma . Building resilience and improving worldview can help alleviate many symptoms associated with these diagnoses.
Couples and families can benefit from a strengths-based approach to their treatment, as it can help re-frame challenges and boost healthy communication skills. Individuals can both learn to recognize how their own strengths contribute to the relationship and identify their partner or family member’s strengths.
Teenagers can also benefit from a strengths-based approach, as this can help with identity development and insight. For similar reasons, strengths-based therapy can help with career counseling and determining what kinds of jobs might be a good fit for an individual.
Benefits of Strengths-Based Therapy
Many people find strengths-based therapy beneficial in their mental health journeys. One reason for this is that positive psychology changes the traditional therapy narrative from “What do we need to fix about you?” to “What is the good that is already in you, and how can we bring that out?”
Strengths-based therapy also fosters resilience by cuing you to the strengths you have used in the past but might not have defined as strengths at the time. The approach teaches you that you are already strong, and you already have the skills needed to survive. You simply need to learn how to tap into those skills and use them intentionally in your life.
While strengths-based therapy still uses skill building to amplify your strengths, you enter therapy with the assumption that you already have strengths.
Positive psychology changes the traditional therapy narrative from “What do we need to fix about you?” to “What is the good that is already in you, and how can we bring that out?”
Effectiveness of Strengths-Based Therapy
Research surrounding strengths-based therapy has shown that it is an effective treatment for a variety of conditions, including depression, and trauma. It is also beneficial as an early intervention for serious mental health issues, such as psychosis.
Although people of all ages can benefit from this approach, teenagers in particular find strengths-based therapy effective, partially by focusing on the development and utilization of resilient beliefs and behaviors instead of identifying and challenging cognitive distortions.
Strengths-based therapy can be effective for both in-person and telehealth sessions .
As with all therapeutic approaches, strengths-based therapy will not be an ideal fit for everyone. A balanced approach to strengths-based therapy will not completely ignore a client’s weaknesses but rather will emphasize strengths in the context of the whole person.
Some criticism of strengths-based therapy includes that the approach lends itself to toxic positivity , or focusing so intensely on a positive mindset that there is no space left for negative emotions or thoughts.
Some weaknesses might not be strengths in disguise, and some clients might feel invalidated if the therapist suggests otherwise. Additionally, strengths-based therapy emphasizes qualities and skills that are already present, and so individuals looking to make changes in their lives might not find this intervention helpful. If this approach is not the right fit for you, that is OK.
If you feel that a strengths-based approach would benefit you, and you do not already have a therapist, you can search for a therapist who indicates that they specialize in this approach. Therapists who have training in a strengths-based approach will often indicate this on their website or profile.
You can also ask your current therapist if they are familiar with this approach and talk about whether these interventions might be a good fit for you.
In the intake, the therapist will gather information about your history and symptoms. If they take a strengths-based approach, they may ask additional strengths-based questions. They might also have you complete a strengths-based assessment to gather more information about your individual strengths. You and your therapist will work together to create a treatment plan that focuses on your strengths and positive qualities.
Victor PP, Teismann T, Willutzki U. A pilot evaluation of a strengths-based CBT intervention module with college students. Behav Cogn Psychother . 2017;45(4):427-431.
Gabana N. A strengths-based cognitive behavioral approach to treating depression and building resilience in collegiate athletics: the individuation of an identical twin. Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology . 2017;1(1):4-15.
Block AM, Aizenman L, Saad A, et al. Peer support groups: evaluating a culturally grounded, strengths-based approach for work with refugees . ASW . 2018;18(3):930-948.
Allott K, Steele P, Boyer F, et al. Cognitive strengths-based assessment and intervention in first-episode psychosis: A complementary approach to addressing functional recovery? Clinical Psychology Review . 2020;79:101871.
Victor P, Krug I, Vehoff C, Lyons N, Willutzki U. Strengths-based cbt: internet-based versus face-to-face therapy in a randomized controlled trial. J Depress Anxiety . 2018;07(02).
By Amy Marschall, PsyD Dr. Amy Marschall is an autistic clinical psychologist with ADHD, working with children and adolescents who also identify with these neurotypes among others. She is certified in TF-CBT and telemental health.
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Life span development reflective paper.
As a Social Worker, I have had the opportunity to work with children and families from diverse socioeconomic, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. My experience and training includes extensive work with prenatal, infant and early childhood education and development. Through this course I have been able to
Strengths Finder 2.0
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Identifying and understanding your own personal strengths is key to being a successful leader. Knowing your strengths means you can focus your efforts to maximize results, in yourself and in others. Strengths Finder 2.0 is designed to uncover your strengths and utilize these strengths to your advantage (Rath, 2007). Identifying and applying these strengths to your leadership style, will enhance your effectiveness as a transformational leader.
Strengths Finder Assesment Essay
Strength is that part of your intellect or nervous system that is more effective and productive than other parts. Throughout your experience of life, your actions or reactions drive different thoughts, behavior and emotion in your brain. The requests that are processed more efficiently and rapidly are known as your strengths. Nowadays, strengths-based approaches to work and life are gaining a lot of popularity and often they are used to improve leadership and create more productive and efficient work teams.
The need for another personality test seems small. Personality tests have been in use in American since 1943 when the Meyers Briggs was first published (OPP, 2015). The field is now very diverse. With the Meyers Briggs and Smalley’s Animal Types on one end to What Star Wars Character Are You? On the other, these tests run the gambit from serious to funny, and then on down to time wasters. To really prove your usefulness, a new test must fill a niche in the market. Something only your test can provide. However the 34 vaguely worded themes give no great bit of detail to really
1.1 Explain The Importance Of Strengths-Based Activities
Rather than focusing on what the child can’t do, focus on what he can do. Recognising that the child has the initiative to take on experiences that empowers his development. Implementing inclusive, strengths based activities exercises the way children can recognise their competencies, this also involves the relationships you entitle with parents and fellow educators to aid the child's development. Partnerships offer valuable insights in regards to finding information about the child, it is important that when working together that opinion, perspectives and decisions are equally valued and respected.
Caseworker Interactions By Foster Care
Within the South Carolina Department of Social Services there are systems within place to encourage the smooth flow of the day to day. During all daily tasks these systems are in constant interaction with each other. The microsystems includes the caseworker interactions with the individual clients. Foster care caseworker work daily with the children, their families, and treatment providers to make decisions for children in care that in their best interest and decisions that promote the safety, permanency, and well-being of the individual children. Interactions by foster care caseworkers are individualistic at the core but there are constant interactions at the mezzo-level. Case-planning for children in care is a team effort and the support
Problem Solving And Strengths Based Approach
Problem solving approach is a traditional and foundational aspect of general Social Work practice. It is based on identifying a problem or set of problems facing a client and formulating a framework of possible options with the hope of fixing the problem or improving the situation. Although, the worker may guide the client and inform them of the possibilities and options available, the client is still solely responsible for their own choices and actions. The formal application of this principle is the definition, assessment, setting of goals, intervention and resolution.
Professional Meeting Report
The purpose of this meeting was to collaborate with area social workers from different agencies. The agencies that were present at the meeting was the MS Department of Child Protective Services (MDCPS), Southern Christian Services (SCS), MS Children’s Home Services, Youth Villages and Methodist Children’s Home Services. The importance of being a competent social worker and promoting healthy permanency plans for children in custody was the focus of the meeting. Dr. David Chandler, Executive Director of Mississippi Child Protective Services, led the meeting. Professionals in attendance were social workers, ranging from LSWs to LCSWs.
Preventing and Addressing Problems in Human Services Essay example
Maurice William’s understands that social workers get tired because of their relentless job responsibilities, therefore, she makes sure they don’t experience burn out since it is her responsibility to keep the families intact (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011). Since she is not out in the field visiting the homes, she puts her faith in her upper management team to be able to listen and pay attention to any problems or potential future problems (Laureate Education, Inc. 2011). Since she is unable to be out in the field, Williams uses her supervisory skills to train her staff to be able to identify potential problems and also to report back to her what the problems are. If there were problems out in the field (i.e., foster parents, foster children), she shoulders the full responsibility to make sure that the problems are addressed and resolved, or modify changes that are in the best interest of the children.
Scdds Intervention Methodology
The South Carolina Department of Social Services is continuously making efforts to improve outcome for children and their families however I feel that interventions are needed in the area of methodology. There needs to be a clear methodology behind caseworker practice that will assist in assuring that not only are services being completed but also that the parents are making the behavioral changes that are needed to keep their children safe. SCDSS has moved toward incorporating Signs of Safety into daily caseworker
Child Protective Services: A Case Study
Children are important members of society as they are our link to the future and civilizations best chance at survival. As important members of society all efforts should be made to assure their protection. The 2014 estimated population of children 17 years and younger was 73,583,618. South Carolina’s estimated population was 1,084,748 ("Total population by child and adult populations", 2015). The number one most important task of child protective service agencies if to assure the safety of all children. Once a report of child abuse/neglect has been received the assessment begins. It is the assessment worker’s task to assure that children are in a safe and nurturing environment. If this has been established that the children can no longer remain
Write An Essay On Don's Behavior
When it comes to dealing with instances of child abuse and neglect, attributes such as being professional, cognizant, interpretative and being perceptive are essential skills to attain in this field. Child welfare social workers are to focus on the social, physical, psychological and emotional well-being of their clients. Therefore, I feel this would be a difficult aspect of social work, I infer a person would have to be imperturbable, composed and strong-willed. I believe a person in this field has to learn to not take their work home with them and be an emotionally strong person. I give my colleague a lot of recognition in this occupation; it would an emotionally-bearing
Evaluation Of Psycho Education, And On Going Monitoring
The interventions included in this case plan include assessment, psycho-education, and on-going monitoring. In the study Effective intervention in child protective services; Learning from parent, parents reported they had a positive experience through the support of the worker and being treated respectfully. In this study they also found that parents felt support through good referrals, emotional support, and concrete help. In the article A Social Work Practice Model of Case Management: The Case Management Grid they state that assessment, goal setting, monitoring, and evaluation were all successful forms of interventions in case management (Moore, 1990).
Analysis of Strengths and Weaknesses
With the long-term goal of becoming a transformational leader, it is often useful to consider one's strengths and weak nesses across four dimensions. These include personal and professional accountability, career planning, personal journey disciplines and reflect practice reference behaviors and tenets. The intent of this analysis is to evaluate my strengths and weaknesses in each of these four areas. In addition, a discussion will be completed on how current leadership skill sets will be used for advocating change in my workplace. The conclusion of the paper will concentrate on one personal goal for leadership growth, including an implementation plan leading to its fulfillment.
Models Of Identifying Problems And Strengths
For the purpose of this paper, I will be using a fictitious name when describing my client. Henry Montoya, 42, sought services for parenting classes after Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) opened a case against him. DCFS claimed that Mr. Montoya failed to protect his 6 children from their mother who was under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Mr. Montoya was working and living in Mexico; his wife and 6 kids lived in Long Beach, Ca. Mr. Montoya denies any knowledge of his wife’s drug or alcohol use. While in Mexico, Mr. Montoya received a phone call from Lakewood DCFS stating that his 6 children had been removed from their mother’s care and were being placed in protective custody. Mr. Montoya was informed that he could take temporary custody of his children only after he returned to California, obtained a job and adequate housing, and completed parenting classes.
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Social Work Evidence Based Practice Strengths and Weaknesses
Critically analyse the strengths and weaknesses of using an ‘evidence based’ approach to a specific area of social work practice, referring to recent research findings in this area. Specific area: Older adults and mental health
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Strengths-based social work: practice framework and handbook
The framework and handbook support social workers and social care professionals in applying a strengths-based approach to their work with adults.
Strengths-based approach: practice framework and practice handbook
PDF , 3.91MB , 105 pages
The Department of Health and Social Care has developed:
- a strengths-based practice framework
- a supporting handbook showing what strengths-based practice is and how it fits with the law
It follows a 2017 report on strengths-based social work practice with adults .
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Reflections on the strength based perspective of a social worker
Essay, 2014, 4 pages, grade: b plus, mastef of social work liguo zhang (author), reflections on the strength-based perspective.
This paper is about my reflection of the basic concepts of the strength-based perspective based on a series of readings in my MSW course social work 700, combined my previous social work practice to illustrate what has resonated or challenged me, the pro and cons of this perspective, and the limitation of this of perspective exposed in my practice.
I think the advantage of the strength-based approach is that it enables social worker to build up a caring relationship with clients and encourages social workers to convey a message of being there for a person with unconditional trust, love, and a sense of compassion. A social worker that looks beneath a person’s negative behavior and sees the pain and suffering does not take the person’s behavior personally. They actively listen to and get to know the talents of people and convey the message that they matter. As Gary (2011) specifies clearly, the conventional helping model sees the person as the problem; expresses a language of doubt; distances the worker from the client in unequal, controlling, and manipulating relationships; strips problems of their context; and supposes a disease with a cause and a solution.
By contrast, the strengths-based approach focuses on setting up relationships based on mutuality, affirmation of human dignity. It recognizes the power inequality between client and social worker and holds that social workers must change the way they think about clients. The strengths-based perspective favors an inductive approach, whereby insights emerge through the relationship with the clients and the stories they tell.
The basis of the strengths-based perspective is grounded in human beings’ natural potential to grow and heal, on their capacity to identify wants; on the strengths of the person and environment. It views the person as rational and self-determining, and able to make his or her own choices and decisions. It holds each person responsible for his or her own behavior and recovery. It also indicates the client can only do this with the intervention of the strengths-based social worker. The social worker trusts the client, explores and discovers what the client wants, uses the client’s own words, makes an assessment and reaches mutual agreement Gray (2011).
2. Evaluation and critique
When I did my volunteer position at Toronto Hong Fook Mental Health Association,I observed that immigrants suffer several psychological stressors when integrating into Canadian social and career life. As a volunteer Program Assistant at Hong Fook Mental Health Association (Toronto), I coordinated monthly workshops for immigrant parents with children suffering from mental health problems. I learned that cultural barriers and the “labelling effect” have hindered them from accessing mental health services available in either mainstream or ethno-specific agencies. Indeed, a great amount of groundwork needs to be done in order to pave the way for Asian immigrants with mental health issues to share their experiences in a safe environment and to access appropriate therapy or services.
During my work, I observed that the agency uses a strengths-based perspective which stresses the inherent strengths of the client and uses these strengths to aid in recovery and empowerment. It is about re-framing social workers’ perception to find good aspects even if one is in the worst situation. The strengths-based perspective emphasizes the power and authority barriers between social worker and client by placing the social worker in the role of a partner or guide. However, I noticed that this perspective places too much responsibility on the individual and the social worker for achieving change, not taking the entire social structure into consideration. As Healy (2005) points out, in mental health risk assessment, a primary focus on client strength may increase some clients’ vulnerability to harm themselves and others. Also, the concept of the strength is a culturally loaded term, for what counts as “strength” in one context may be seen as weakness in another.
My practice exposed limitations of this conventional model used for servicing marginalized immigrants. I hold that this Intervention model utilized by service providers overlooks socio-economic and social structural factors, including poverty, discrimination, unemployment and policy “glitches” as social stressors that arguably position marginalized immigrant youth and seniors to the point of having breakdowns or mental health issues. What is often absent from conventional behavioral models is a critical analysis in relation to historical /social context of oppression that blocks them from employment or financial advancement opportunities in a subtle way.
The Hong Fook Mental Health Association stresses that environmental factors and cultural barriers are reasons that result in mental health problems among immigrants’ children. However, I support using a critical anti-racist framework to examine the complex issues that confront marginalized people. If we only focus on cultural issues, it will hinder our understanding of the influence of race and racism against individuals and families. Focusing on race can result in a structural analysis taking into consideration the historical and current consequences of being a person of visible minority in society. It becomes vital to explore how race is interwoven with other forms of oppressions that intersect people’s life both historically and currently while the historical context continues to have an impact on current context (Maiter, 2009).
The strengths-based perspective stems from philosophical foundations; it is dangerous to go too close to contemporary neoliberal notions of self-help and self-responsibility and ignore over the structural inequalities that hinder the personal and social development. It fails to take account of evidence of the relationship between structural inequalities, such as race and class, or of mental illness, poverty, and so on. Its political conception of self-responsibility comes to the political notion of the conservative New Right, which sees as devolving social responsibility from neoliberal governments onto the individuals Gray (2011).
Taking my family experiences as an example, prior to our immigration to Toronto in 2007, my son was one of the top students in a key high school in Beijing. When he arrived here, he was 15 years old and the English language became a barrier for him. When he spoke English in class, some Canadian students laughed at him, and later he spoke haltingly while he expressed his ideas in English. The following year, his English teacher discouraged him and advised him that “You should prepare yourself for colleges and you are not suitable to stay in this class”. My son was stubborn and he often studied and practiced with his English until 3:00 in the morning. Although later, he received offers from several universities, he continues to be depressed and isolated from student activities.
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The strengths-based approach to social work focuses on a client's personal, relational, and community assets, rather than their deficits (Pulla, 2017). It is a holistic, collaborative approach concerned with identifying a client's inner and outer resources to promote resilience (Pulla, 2017).
The strength-based approach focuses on the positive attributes of a person or a group, rather than the negative. There are multiple ways the strength-based approach can be applied, including in leadership, counseling, community and social work, and pediatrics.
Context: There is substantial policy support for strengths-based approaches to social work and social care. These new models of care promote the deployment of 'strengths' including personal, social and community resources to empower individuals to achieve their desired outcomes. Although a number of strengths-based models have been developed it is not known whether and how they work, or ...
The strength-based approach challenges the traditional deficit model applied in psychosocial care practice, which takes an all-encompassing perspective. Creating a comprehensive portrait of each ...
The strengths based perspective applies six principles that guide the social worker professional in assisting client's with the strengths based model; we all have areas of strength, but sometimes it takes an unbiased third party to notice and help others clearly see what they are capable of achieving, even in the midst of their crisis.
Core elements of a strengths-based approach are that everyone has strengths and capacities. People can change and grow through their strengths and capacities, and social workers can...
Strength-Based Practice Values (Saleebey, 1997): 1. Despite life's struggles, all persons possess strengths that one can marshal to improve the quality of their lives. 2. We can increase client motivation by placing a consistent emphasis on client-defined strengths. 3. Discovering strengths requires cooperative exploration between clients and ...
Strengths-based approaches can be viewed as respectful toward and empowering of the oppressed and vulnerable people to which the field of social work traditionally has been committed (Corcoran, Relationships In Albert White Hat Life's Journey 999 Words | 4 Pages
Strength-based perspective defined as a social work practice theory that emphasizes people 's self determination and strengths. The way I interpret the strength based perspective is to always look at the positive side that pertains to your client.
This approach is intrinsically linked with a structural social work perspective. As the main goal of structural social work is to empower and advocate for clients, which is the primary goal of a strengths based approach (Mbakogu, 2016, 14).
Strengths-based therapy is a theoretical orientation and approach to psychotherapy treatment based in positive psychology. A strengths-based therapist focuses on the client's existing resources, resilience, and positive qualities in an effort to use these abilities to improve quality of life and reduce problematic symptoms. 1.
Social workers deal with a variety of clients from different ethnicity, age, gender, disability and social inequalities. Use of theories in social work practice gives it a strong knowledge base. They provide a way of thinking and knowing. In this essay I will discuss the inter-relationship between theory and social work practice and theoretical ...
Social Theories Essay people. STRENGTH-BASED MODEL The strength based approach is a concept that firmly adheres to the belief that people or groups of people have existing competencies. It is an empowering approach that focuses on the individuals capabilities rather than their disabilities.
Using an evidence based approach has the strength of allowing the social workers who form social work practices to alter those practices to help larger numbers of older adults with mental health conditions to receive the social work services that should benefit them the most.
Key points Strengths-based approaches value the capacity, skills, knowledge, connections and potential in individuals and communities. Focusing on strengths does not mean ignoring challenges, or spinning struggles into strengths. Practitioners working in this way have to work in collaboration - helping people to do things for themselves.
The Department of Health and Social Care has developed: a strengths-based practice framework. a supporting handbook showing what strengths-based practice is and how it fits with the law. It ...
The strengths perspective focuses on an arrangement of thoughts and works on trying to perceive and use the individual's personal strengths to advance change and deeply rooted strength. Social work practice serves as a review to the development of the strengths perspective inside of the field of psychological wellness.… 194 Words 1 Page Good Essays
1. Overview I think the advantage of the strength-based approach is that it enables social worker to build up a caring relationship with clients and encourages social workers to convey a message of being there for a person with unconditional trust, love, and a sense of compassion.
This video summarises the processes and the key elements to consider in relation to using a strengths-based approach. Learn more: https://www.scie.org.uk/st...