The strengths perspective in social work practice: extensions and cautions

Soc Work. 1996 May;41(3):296-305.


The strengths perspective in social work practice continues to develop conceptually. The strengths-based approach to case management with people with severe mental illness is well established. More recently, there have been developments in strengths-based practice with other client groups and the emergence of strengths orientations in work with communities. To augment these developments, converging lines of thinking, research, and practice in areas such as developmental resilience, healing and wellness, and constructionist narrative and story have provided interesting supports and challenges to the strengths perspective. This article reviews some current thinking and research about using a strengths orientation and assesses conceptual endorsements and criticisms of the strengths perspective.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Case Management / organization & administration
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Power, Psychological*
  • Social Work, Psychiatric / organization & administration*