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Why Strengths based Practice is Evergreen

Strengths based practice has remained ‘evergreen’ since it first emerged as an approach in the 1980s.

I will be in Perth in June, working with Calm and Connected at Piara Waters, to continue sharing the simple yet powerful ways in which we can engage with our clients and colleagues to enhance engagement and to see and feel the power of genuine, simple communication and care and how this naturally leads to change and growth in Therapeutic, Education, Casework and Supervision settings.

Once we understand that Strengths based Practice (SBP) is an approach to people, not a specific model, it becomes obvious that people will never become a trend that fades after a few years and that we are always in relationship with others. Hence availing ourselves of opportunities to reflect on and develop the ways in which we can communicate and truly support our clients and colleagues is an important part of being a practitioner. SBP has relevance in all our relationships and many a participant has shared how these workshops have impacted far beyond the work space.

I have traversed the country over the past 20 years as practitioners from all aspects of human services have come together to learn, share and enhance their understanding of the power we hold to work with others in ways that allow a space to emerge where people can begin to feel safe without judgement. With this feeling we become much more able to grow and develop our openness and ability to take increased responsibility and to begin making decisions that are empowering not only for ourselves, but for others as well.

As we learn to observe what is happening around us and not to absorb others’ predicaments or ways of life (some of which are extremely confronting), the lack of judgment grows, and our clients and colleagues begin to feel the care that is offered them. This does not mean that we subscribe to behaviours or lifestyle choices that put people at risk. What it does mean is that we can separate the person from the predicament and relate to them for who they are, not their circumstances. There is tremendous power and potential liberation in what can be offered here.

What does this look like?

When we observe the choices and behaviour of some parents towards their children or their particular circumstances for example, we may find that our values differ as practitioners and we may also find parents/carers resistant to our support and professional advice. Developing a relationship with our clients and our colleagues may simply mean having conversations about how they are feeling and how their situation impacts on them and their children for example. Reflecting to others an understanding of the challenges and at the same time, holding them in their potential as equal human beings creates the space for people’s strengths to be observed, to grow and to be shared.

It is important not to underestimate the opportunity we have as practitioners to reflect to others that their predicaments, challenges and patterns of behaviour are not who they/we are and that there is always the possibility of a shift towards more self-nurturing choices, self-responsibility and increased quality of life. To be living and offering these opportunities is to be a Strengths-based Practitioner, approaching people in a way that does not fade in its importance or value; it remains Evergreen…

Bernadette offers her practical and insightful workshops on The Strength Based Approach to Supervision – Parallel Partners in Service Delivery and The Strength Based Approach: for Caseworkers, Educators and Allied Health Workers online & in person.

Click here for event details and bookings.

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