Презентация на тему: " 1 Social Work Methods and Models The Strengths Perspective in Social Work With grateful acknowledgements to Phil Lee." — Транскрипт:
1 Social Work Methods and Models The Strengths Perspective in Social Work With grateful acknowledgements to Phil Lee
2 What is the Strengths Perspective & where did it come from? Practice model, framework, perspective – theory? – generated from within social work in the US principally Based on the idea that client / user groups have untapped personal resources Popular with social workers due to clear emphasis on user self determination, and on the need to demonstrate respect to all users Deliberate offering of an alternative to the idea of seeing clients as pathology units Emerged – not surprisingly – in psychiatric & custodial settings Directs all persons working with clients to not allow negative labels to dictate or influence the course of help that the user will receive Principal proponents – Saleebey D (ed) 2002, 3 rd ed The Strengths Perspective in Social Work Practice, Allyn and Bacon Parton N and OBrien P 2000 Constructive Social Work, contains many similar themes – alongside an emphasis on narrative approaches – which we will deal with separately
3 As Saleeby (1997) suggests The strengths perspective formula is simple: Mobilise clients strengths (talent, knowledge, capacities) in the service of achieving their goals and visions and the clients will have a better quality of life on their terms
4 Intellectual origins of this approach Radical social work – need to recognise political implications of sw and not pathologise Erving Goffman – his work on labelling and stigma Psychological Resilience theory – people can benefit from difficult life events. People are highly resilient. Saleeby suggests that the majority of people do NOT repeat the problems they experienced as children Ego Psychology Rogerian humanistic approaches Geoffrey Batesons & brief, solution-focussed therapy – emphasis on mutuality, on the now, and on seeing the problem as not contained in the person but systemic Empowerment and anti-oppressive practice – solutions as a mutual learning process based on partnership
5 Practice Assumptions Karen Healy (2005, pp ) suggests there are 5: All people have strengths, capacities & resources People usually demonstrate resilience, rather than pathology, in the face of adversity. As Saleeby(1996, p10) states – all humans have an inclination for healing. Service users have the capacity to determine what is best for them & do not need Social Workers to define their best interests Social workers tend to focus on clients deficits and pathologies – not their resources & strengths Social Workers are also reluctant to form real partnerships with users – and yet it is only through such collaborative partnerships that service users capacities can be enhanced
6 Practice Principles Healy (2205, pp ) again suggests 5: 1. Adopt an optimistic attitude 2. Focus on service users assets 3. Collaborate with the service user 4. Work towards long term empowerment of service user 5. Create community Lets explore each of these in turn with an deliberate emphasis on HOW WE might try to carry out such principles in our practice We will note some problems – but reserve the majority of our criticisms to the later evaluative section.
7 1Adopt an optimistic attitude Challenge ourselves - & all those that work with us – to question pathological & deficit-orientated views of users Seek out evidence of strengths e.g. with families seen at risk on abusing their children – we need to explore support networks that they feel comfortable with Constantly convey our beliefs that the users have the capacities to deal with their immediate problems & achieve a better quality of life Challenge negative labels - we must be careful in the language we use. We should always refer to, and focus on, their strengths and not their problems Separate person from problem – if problems have to be mentioned then do so in a manner that conveys respect for their resilience e.g. a survivor of abuse or trauma
8 2 Focus on service users assets Quinn P 1998, in Understanding Disability, Sage, p 105, suggests that : It is easy to assume…..that any adult with Downs Syndrome will be a happy, placid person who is satisfied with routine, repetitive tasks…..instead, the entire range of possible cognitive abilities, physical capacity, and personal interests must be evaluated. The assumption should be made that the young adult can accomplish any task, until this is proven wrong. Exactly the same perspective applies to working with older people with various degrees of dementia.
9 HOW? When listening, we must be constantly on the look for positives – for capacity, capability & resourcefulness – as Van Wormer (2001, p32) states. E.g. Absence from school – 2 days a week – so focus initially on the 3 days of attendance! BUT we cannot ignore negative diagnoses & past behaviours – cannot gloss over them – the secret lies in how such labels are applied. We will return to this issue later
10 1Collaborate with the service user Compare expert-centric & collaborative ways of interviewing & interacting with a user Partnership is the first necessary stage for empowerment Explore what might, at first, seem to you to be irrational service user responses – as de Shazer (1985, p 7) suggests Pay attention to physical environment, users responses to all situations; mutuality – using 1 st names (but only by agreement) and try to de-mystify all necessary professional procedures Encourage the service user to explore ALL possible solutions – how they see it – and however apparently unrealistic – be optimistic
11 4Work towards long term empowerment of service user Saleeby(1997, p8) quotes Rappaport, stating that a commitment to a service user requires us to create opportunities for the alienated & distressed to seize some control over their lives & the decisions that are critical to their lives. Emphasis should always be on possibilities rather than past problems – getting at the users hopes and dreams Affirming users resilience and enabling capacities – including those forged in terrible adversity Try to gain early initial practical outcomes consistent with longer term hopes and dreams
12 5Create community Always recognise positives in the users social networks Social networks can be a way of linking users into wider community networks Green and Haines (2002) have developed a community development, strengths approach – focussing on Assets Good community work practice – seek to build change through members in the community – not from outside Use existing capacities and assets, etc
13 British Strengths Perspective – Parton & OByrne Little recognition of the seminal texts of US work But clear similarities in that their work emphasises the strengths and resources that service users have in & around them Rich source of case examples Greater use of narrative and voice than in US work
14 Clearly the Strengths Perspective offers: A positive framework for understanding the personal, community and systemic strengths operating in any situation Uncovering strengths and framing them in an accessible and useful way becomes a core social work process What are the strengths and weaknesses of this approach?
15 Weaknesses Simple old pop psychology, positive thinking in disguise Places too great an emphasis on individuals to make their own changes – in that sense it is highly individualistic Ignores harsh realities & is inconsistent with core components of the role of statutory social work. In some situations, emphasising strengths is both unviable & may exacerbate users vulnerabilities – to harm themselves & others The partnership ideal similarly disguises the real power differentials between social workers & service users It has an absurdly optimistic view of human nature – Pollyanna-ism – it just really re-frames misery Not clear about what the limits of a strength actually are – Well I am very good at fighting; I know every dealer in this town, I know how to control my wife, I can take cars.
16 Strengths Recognises a place for & the power of optimism in achieving change Allows us to see how our language, our behaviours and our orientations can disempower users very easily Challenges bio-medical and legal discourses in a way that should enable social workers to de-mystify the practices of these professions Can be used to emphasise social not individual causes of personal problems