Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Strengths-based Approaches—Perspectives from Practitioners

Caiels, James, Silarova, Barbora, Milne, Alisoun, Beadle-Brown, Julie (2023) Strengths-based Approaches—Perspectives from Practitioners. The British Journal of Social Work, 54 (1). pp. 168-188. ISSN 0045-3102. E-ISSN 1468-263X. (doi:10.1093/bjsw/bcad186) (KAR id:102363)


Despite its popularity, relatively little is known about strengths-based approaches in adult social work. In order to explore how strengths-based models and approaches are developed and implemented in social work and social care in England, and how these models are impacting practice, a two-stage project was conducted between December 2020 and October 2021. An online survey was completed by thirty-two respondents and a sub-sample of ten semi-structured interviews were conducted with social work and social care professionals involved in organising, managing, delivering or commissioning strengths-based approaches. The majority of participants were social workers. A range of positive outcomes were reported including improved reported well-being and satisfaction for people accessing services and enriched interactions (greater empathy, trust, better rapport), particularly for social workers. Challenges included incompatibility of systems and organisational structures; workload pressures and a depleted workforce; limited resources and applying the model at crisis point. The principles and values associated with adopting a strengths-based approach appear consistent with providing high-quality social work. The challenge for researchers—and to some extent practitioners—is how to meaningfully capture the nuanced impact of such a multi-dimensional approach. The challenge for policy is how to operationalise and replicate the benefits.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1093/bjsw/bcad186
Additional information: For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.
Uncontrolled keywords: Asset-based approaches; social care services for adults; social work with adults; strengths-based approaches
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Personal Social Services Research Unit
Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Tizard
Funders: National Institute for Health Research (
Department of Health and Social Care (
Depositing User: James Caiels
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2023 11:39 UTC
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2024 10:31 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.