Building Strengths and Skills: A Collaborative Approach to Working with Clients

Building Strengths and Skills: A Collaborative Approach to Working with Clients

Building Strengths and Skills: A Collaborative Approach to Working with Clients

Building Strengths and Skills: A Collaborative Approach to Working with Clients

Synopsis

This is a much-needed practice book that demonstrates how helping professionals can emphasize their clients' resilience, strength, and capacities, rather than focusing on pathology or deficits. It offers an integrative practice model for both assessment and intervention that interweavesstrengths-based (specifically solution-focused therapy and motivational interviewing) and skills-building (cognitive-behavioral) approaches. In the strengths-and-skills-based model, helping professionals assume that clients possess the necessary capacities to solve their own problems, transformingthe therapeutic relationship into a collaboration focused on bolstering motivation and resources for change. When these resources are exhausted or when deficits become a substantial barrier, then practitioner and client work to develop an individualized skills-building plan. A wide range ofexamples, written by Jacqueline Corcoran with experts from different fields of practice, clearly demonstrate how the model can be applied to individuals and families struggling with behavior problems, depression, substance abuse, anxiety, violence, and abuse, so that both strengths and skillsmaximize the client's success. This innovative, dynamic resource is a must have for practitioners across the helping, social service, and mental health professions.

Excerpt

A movement has recently emerged in the helping professions in which the focus is on people's strengths and circumstances rather than their pathology. Prior to this movement, the dominant ideology involved the “expert” practitioner diagnosing and determining what people should do to fix their problems; people were viewed largely in terms of their weaknesses, limitations, and problems. Now, with strengths-based (Saleebey, 2001), resilience (Werner & Smith, 2001), and positive psychology frameworks (Snyder & Lopez, 2002), the emphasis lies instead on people's resilience, strengths, and capacities. Unfortunately, practice models encompassing these frameworks are few. Those that do exist tend to lack balance between a focus on the strengths clients possess and the skills they need to develop. Building Strengths and Skills: A Collaborative Approach to Working With Clients takes into account both individual resources and the areas where client skills can be bolstered, offering an eclectic practice approach that interweaves and operationalizes both strengths-based and skills-based practice approaches.

In what has therefore been named the strengths-and-skills-building model, clients are assumed to have the necessary capacities to solve their own problems, and a major focus of treatment is bolstering motivation and resources. When these resources are exhausted or when deficits are identified as a substantial barrier to change, then skill building is introduced.

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