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What is “The Strengths Approach”?

Posted: 12/01/2016

More than 10 years ago, Wayne McCashen, then a leader of strengths-based practice and trainer at St Luke’s, documented the framework that had been embedded as the foundation for the agency’s practice for working with people. ‘The Strengths Approach‘ has been reprinted many times over, and is still a prescribed text for many Social Work students in Universities all over the world.

Here are the basic concepts, taken from the beginning of the book.

  • The strengths approach is a philosophy for working with people to bring about change.
  • It is an approach to people that is primarily dependent upon positive attitudes about people’s dignity. capacities, rights, uniqueness and commonalities.
  • It emphasises people’s ability to be their own agents of change by creating conditions that enable them to control and direct the processes of change they engage in.
  • It creates conditions that enable people to identify, value and mobilise their strengths and capacities in the process of change.
  • It provides and mobilises resources in a way that complements people’s existing strengths and resources as opposed to compensating for perceived deficits.
  • It acknowledges and addresses power imbalances between people working in human services and those they work with.
  • It seeks to identify and address social, personal, cultural and structural constraints to people’s growth and self determination.
  • It acknowledges and addresses power dynamics, cultures and structures in organisations that are congruent with socially-just practice.

From “The Strengths Approach” Book

Published by St Luke’s Innovative Resources, 2005

Author Wayne McCashen

Other Strengths-based Blogs

Discover your Top 8               Reflecting on practice

The Nature of Strengths:Holding on and Letting Go

Celebrating grey areas, building ethical decision making

#strengthsbasedpractice

#strengthsapproach

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