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.