The Strengths Perspective

Report
18th March 2014
Keynote address
Dialogue with the Strengths Perspective –
An Appreciative and Critical Reflection
Esther C. L. Goh
Associate Professor
Social Work Department
National University of Singapore
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Outline
Social Work’s heritage from medicine
Affirmation on contribution by strengths
perspective
Highlight inadequacies of strengths perspective
and propose utilizing agentic lenses to augment
strengths perspective
Propose a joint project with practitioners
The Medicalization of Social Work
Be mindful of
1. The social work practices which came from a
medical, pathological, deficit heritage;
2. How this heritage influences the way we
think and directly impacts the way we relate
with our clients
3. How our language is influenced by the
pathological model
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Howard Goldstein: Pathological language
“When I told her about the institution, my therapist got really upset
And told me that I had the most pathological childhood she had ever heard!”’
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Power in the People –
The Strengths Perspective
www.animationfactory.com
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Deficit Models
www.animationfactory.com
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
The Strengths Perspective
Strengths perspective a way of seeing –
Impacting a shift in social work practice
Problems
Strengths
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Hidden Strengths, Gifts and Talents
www.animationfactory.com
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Assess and access strengths not diagnosis
Strengths or Resources
1
Environmental Factors
(family, community)
3
2
4
Individual or
Personal Resources
Deficit, Obstacle, or Challenge
Source: Hepworth (2013) page 181 fig 8.2 Cowger’s framework of assessment
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Saleebey (2013):
List of questions
• Survival questions
• Support questions
• Exception questions
• Possibility questions
• Esteem questions
• Perspective questions
• Change questions
• Meaning questions
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Critiques of Strengths Perspective
• Extreme application of strengths
perspective in supervision
• (Neo) Liberal philosophical roots
• Mixed empirical evidence for claim of
success
• Concept of strengths remains static and
lack dynamism
• An implicit linear process of change
remains
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
An implicit linear process of change
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-EKNjDxSr2PU/Udr6NVa3wBI/AAAAAAAAwyc/3zgzSmyfq6w/s1600/Qatar-dig_01.jpg
Human Agency
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
actors
make sense of the environment
initiate change
make choices
resist domination
inter-connected parts
bidirectional influences
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Universality of Agency
• autonomy
• construction
• action
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Human Agency: Power fueled by Resources
All human are agents but
the extent of agency exercised
depends to one’s access to social power.
Power fueled by:
• individual resources
• relational resources
• cultural/Structural resources
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Human Agency:
Relationship as context for agency
-bidirectional dynamics
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
How Do Agentic Lenses Augment
Strengths Perspective?
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Vulnerable Families as Active Agents
of their own change process
Extant literature reported common threads that
run across success intervention with vulnerable
families:
• Social workers’ effort in forging therapeutic
bond
• Social workers were flexible about professional
boundaries
• Social workers recognized the deep extent of
clients’ pain and strengths
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Clients’ agency (strengths) made explicit
Client co-regulated the relationship by considering
social worker as ‘family’ and ‘intimate’
“I told my mother, “Ma this social worker is not like social worker
you know, it’s really like family member”’.
“I think I like her [social worker] in that way [chuckles]. She’s a
social worker that calls me and asks me “are you ok?” she will give
me a call, or I give her a call saying about my problem. Then she’ll
quickly get me an appointment to see her face to face to talk,
rather than talking on the phone”
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Clients’ agency (strengths) made explicit
Client see themselves jointly constructing
the therapeutic bonds
Social Workers’ contributions:
1. The social worker met client’s wants
2. The social worker’s commitment and competence in
helping
“I give her full score because [she] really makes things
work, let’s say I see her today, about two weeks later or
one month later, things can happen”.
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Commitment
Met clients’
and competence
wants
Construction of therapeutic bond
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Clients’ agency (strengths) made explicit
Client see themselves jointly constructing
the therapeutic bonds
Client’s contributions:
- Setting clear goals
“[If] I depend on you [social service agency] I will become a burden.
But I want to stand on my own feet. My character is such. I’m a
mother, I want to work. I don’t want to stay home. I don’t want to
be lazy. Sometimes I feel very tired because I got 3 kids to take care,
I got rent and bills to pay. I can’t rely on my boyfriend, because he’s
just a boyfriend. Let’s say one day he had enough of me he may just
break up”
- Giving the new social worker a chance
“[I told myself] I must open my heart and speak to the social
worker…”
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
A Dynamic View of Change
“When I was in the prison, I thought a lot, I was thinking
back, oh shit, I gave Sally (not the social worker’s real
name) a very big problem. So I was [thinking to myself]
when I [get] release, how am I going to face her, you
know. I was thinking how would I explain? [Now] I won’t
even be thinking of going back to drug, because [I have]
wasted my life for one year inside and my kids were like
going haywire without me. I said no [to drugs] this time
round, no means no”.
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Relationship contexts that empower
Mr D:
“I don’t want to hold [due payment] too long.
Because I want, my Rosy Tan [not social worker’s
real name] when she comes back [from maternity
leave] at least, I got something to show [her]. I do
not want to make her feel disappointed or feel
that I have failed her, because I gave my words to
her…”
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Parallel lenses
Social Workers and Clients are both active
agents in the change process
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Are siblings of autistic children the forgotten ones?
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Are siblings of autistic children the forgotten ones?
• How we access children’s agency?
• How we access parental agency?
• How we access interactions and identify
strengths and resources?
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Parental agency – Double standard parenting
• More lenient with autistic child
• Little achievement of autistic child more
celebrated
• Try to spend equal with all children (but failed)
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Neuro-Typical Children’s Agency
• Empathizing with parents
“I take care of my brother because I know they [parents]
are busy and they have to do their own things”. (Dan, 11
years old)
• Making do with the situation
“Sometimes I wish I can get more time with my mum
because I think my brother [autistic child] is closer to my
mum and I am closer to my dad. So sometimes I wish had
more time with mum, but I am ok with it…it’s just
sometimes I feel that she cares more about my brother,
so sometimes I wish she doesn’t, but I am totally ok…”
(Serene, 12 years old)
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Neuro-Typical Children’s Agency (continue)
• Resistant and rejection
“ ‘Why do you always ask me to look after Greg
[autistic child]?’ He said that and he was crying,
tears of anger”. (Mrs Goh)
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Social Work Implications
• Social work intervention should tap on the
existing adaptive mechanism of the entire
family caring for the autistic child.
• Affirm neuro-typical children’s contribution to
their families while attending to their needs.
• Intervention that builds agency of mothers and
children.
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Eclecticism – the beauty of Social Work
Strengths Perspective + Agentic lens
To enhance the strengths perspective
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
Writing Project – An invitation
Diagnostic and Statistical
Manual (DSM V)
Agentic and Strengths Manual
(ASM I)
APA website
photoshop-vectors-icons-Vector
© A/P Esther Goh, Social Work Dept, NUS
[email protected]
THANK YOU
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