Strengths-Based Models in Social Work

Jacqueline Corcoran

in Social Work

ISBN: 9780195389678
Published online May 2011 | | DOI:
Strengths-Based Models in Social Work

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“Strengths-based” practice in social work takes on a variety of meanings. It is a philosophy and a way of viewing clients as resourceful and resilient in the face of adversity. It is also considered a method of practice, although there is no strengths-based model of practice per se. Instead, various practice models may be categorized under the rubric of strengths-based practice as long as they hold, as their fundamental assumptions, that the social worker’s relationship with the client is one of collaboration and that people are resourceful and are capable of solving their own problems. Prior to the advent of strengths-based perspectives and practices, the dominant ideology involved an “expert” practitioner diagnosing clients and determining what needed to be done. People were viewed largely in terms of their pathologies, weaknesses, limitations, and problems. 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.

Article.  4390 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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