Social Work Theories in Action

By Mary Nash; Robyn Munford et al. | Go to book overview

Introduction
This section explores how strengths approaches contribute to the integrated practice framework. Strengths-based approaches have become a strong influence in social work practice and have been developed in a diversity of practice settings. These range from mental health settings, statutory organizations and in non-government agencies that work with families, children and young people.The chapters in this section explore the key elements of strengths approaches and develop these within a particular context and perspective. The key themes include a focus on the following:
A belief that those with whom social workers work bring strengths and resources to the helping relationship and that these contribute to finding solutions to current challenges.
A belief that a focus on strengths does not diminish the importance of identifying 'risks' and developing strategies for finding ways to protect clients from situations of harm and from causing harm. However, strengths approaches challenge us to think about what it is to that enables people to survive and grow and to identify the moments when solutions were found and positive change was achieved.
A belief that within the wider environment of clients' lives there will be resources that can assist in the change process. The challenge for the social worker is to see the world with a different perspective, one that enables them to be creative in seeking out resources and opportunities for supporting the change process.
A belief that fundamental to strengths approaches is the building of strong relationships and partnerships with clients. They, not the social worker, direct the change process.

The three chapters in this section focus on working with families (Robyn Munford and Jackie Sanders), working in statutory settings (Rodger Jack) and using strengths approaches to guide the supervision of practice (Chris Thomas and Sharlene Davis). In reading these chapters we encourage the reader to reflect on their own practice and to identify how strengths approaches can enhance the efficacy of their practice.

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