Strength Theory Essay

2148 Words9 Pages
The strengths perspective is a theory of social work practice in which the social worker appeals for the client’s or service user’s strengths, it sees the service user as a resource. The strength perspective not only identifies people’s strengths, but it also reinforces and combines qualities, skills and abilities of the service users in order to empower them. It sees the service users as experts of their own problems. Karen Healy (2005) asserts “[Strengths perspective] concentrates on enabling individuals and communities to articulate, and work towards their hopes for the future” (Healy, 2005). This theory builds on individual’s abilities not on the weaknesses, and it focuses on what is well rather that on what is wrong; in other words, it fosters hope. It is built on the optimism of the social worker and the service user. In addition, this theory “focuses on the clients’ account of themselves, especially on their strengths, goals, aspirations, hope, and dreams” (Oko, 2006) This theory emerged in United States (US) in the social work field of mental health. It emerged as a reaction against the psychological and psychiatric approaches which it saw as weighted on individuals deficiencies, negativities, weaknesses, and in which the professionals were the experts on the individual’s problems. The strength approach emerge by challenging the language and the ideology in mental health practice which focused on the clients’ inabilities and deficits and not on what the clients could do, referring to clients by their diagnose, for example “the schizophrenic” or the maniac-depressive” (Healy, 2005). Berta Capen Reynolds together with Erving Goffman’s work on stigma, labelling and marginalization and Dennis Saleebey work in resilience, played an important part in developing the strengths perspective. According to Saleebey, the key concepts for this theory are assisting
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