Podcast: Lyn Romeo on strengths-based practice

The chief social worker for adults and academic Elaine Aspinwall-Roberts discuss how the model can be used in social work

Photo: fotolia/daoduangnan

Strengths-based practice is a social work theory that focuses on people’s strengths and goals rather than their problems. It has gained increasing popularity over the last few years, particularly with the inclusion of strengths-based principles and requirements in the Care Act 2014 – paragraph 1.1 of the statutory guidance states: “The core purpose of adult care and support is to help people to achieve the outcomes that matter to them in their life.”

In a new podcast for Community Care Inform, the subscription learning tool, Lyn Romeo, the chief social worker for adults, and Elaine Aspinwall-Roberts, senior lecturer in social work at Liverpool John Moores University, discuss how strengths-based practice can be used in social work, and some of the criticisms and challenges of the approach.

When asked for their definitions of strengths-based practice in the podcast, Aspinwall-Roberts said: “For me, strengths-based practice has as its starting point what people can do, rather than what they can’t do. So it’s focusing on possibilities and solutions, rather than a historical focus on deficit.”

Romeo commented that as part of her work as chief social worker for adults “I’ve met with people who’ve been engaging with social workers, and … they say to me, that ‘It’s when the social worker picked up on what I could contribute, what I could do, that really turned things around in terms of my journey to have the best possible life.’”

Community Care Inform subscribers can access the podcast, supporting resources and a written transcript on Inform Adults and Inform Children. For non-subscribers, we’ve made the episode available on iTunes.

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3 Responses to Podcast: Lyn Romeo on strengths-based practice

  1. Long in the tooth February 16, 2018 at 7:02 am #

    FREE guidance for social workers are needed, explaining how to change their practice to put into action a strengths approach. A lot of social work staff that I speak with still don’t really understand the difference between an asset and a strength, or even how to work describe what an outcome is, and how that differs from a personal goal.

  2. James February 16, 2018 at 4:08 pm #

    I am sorry but this is a nonsense, how can strength based practice be used properly when Adult Social Care work in a system of Resource Allocation. Support plans are needs based, around what an adult is unable to do with out support. This is clearly a political view point of cost saving. If a worker uses a strengths based approach in a support plan do you really think the funding for this would be agreed. Funding is generally agreed on a risk management process, if you highlight the strengths then you defeat your own argument. I do not agree with this as a practice. But to implement any real strength based practice an over hall of Adult Social Work will need to take place.

  3. Glenn Hinds February 19, 2018 at 11:35 pm #

    I congratulate the contributors on their exploration of strength based interventions. It provides practitioners the opportunity to genuinely engage service users in collaborative relationships. The practitioner aids the s.u to build on existing skills, talents, abilities and resources to resolve what they can and only offers contributions that are beyond the s.u’s reach. Practitioners often mistake being helpful with responding to client’s ‘problems’ by providing solutions. Strength based invites and affirms clients existing and potential means of moving forward. It requires us to more fully trust the people we are there to help to be capable of plotting a meaningful path for themselves. It is the foundation of genuine person centred support.