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A more recent version of this content exists; this version was replaced on 23 May 2019. The version that replaced it can be found here.

Updated to include a paragraph on the synthesis between social work's strength-based perspective and positive psychology.

Updated on 3 September 2013. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 28 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The strengths perspective is a paradigmatic shift away from problem-focused approaches to social work practice. The strengths perspective focuses not on the defectiveness of the client system in an attempt to undo these problems but on the inherent strengths, competencies, and resiliency that are the building blocks of a better future. It does not ignore pain and suffering but asks how people make it under such difficult times and builds on those amazing capacities. It assumes the expertise of the client and privileges client knowledge and capabilities. Diversity, self-determination, empowerment, and social justice are inherent in this practice.

Keywords: strengths, resilience, empowerment, social justice, diversity, communities, group work, practice organizations, self-determination, social policy

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