Sunday, December 31, 2006

Strengths Based Approach

In my Master's program, the school I attended claimed to work from a Strengths-Based approach. What I didn't know for a full year and a half into the program was that they *didn't* work from a Strengths-Based approach. They focused, instead on people's deficiencies, problems, illnesses, and "areas for improvement". Not once did I hear any professor talk about a client's strengths. Not once did our writing assignments ask us to point out a client's assets. And not once did it come up in class discussions.

It wasn't until I enrolled in the class Community Mental Health Interventions that I learned what a true strengths-based approach was! Two books were key in teaching me what this approach was really all about. The Environment of Schizophrenia: Innovations in practice, policy, and communications by Richard Warner talks about how to use the strengths-based approach with psychotic disorders and The Strengths Model: Case Management with People Suffering from Severe and Persistent Mental Illness by Charles A Rapp discusses how to focus on an individual's strengths in the midst of mental illnesses of all types.

In addition, Dave talks about a strengths-based approach in his podcast Strengthscast.

Everyone deserves to have their strengths and assets pointed out to them and recognized by others. :)


As a social worker, sufferer of mental illness, and loved one to others who suffer from mental illness, I have noticed that the world remains uneducated about mental health and mental illness at large. The aim of this blog is to educate individuals on mental health and mental illness and to provide resources for individuals suffering with mental illness or their loved ones who want to help.

I will begin a weekly question and answer post, so if you have a burning question about mental health or mental illness, please leave me a comment and I will use my knowledge and experiences to answer these questions.

I hope you find this blog both informative and helpful.