Families In Society-The Journal Of Contemporary Human Services
Some in social work have called for a paradigm shift away from a focus on problems to a focus on strengths, empowerment, and capacity building. This call sets up an unnatural dichotomy, asking social workers to identify with one side or another. In this article, we review social work history to argue that the best social work practice has always maintained a dual focus on both problems and capacity building. Throughout our history, those who championed a problem-oriented practice also emphasized strengths and growing client capacity, and today's strength-based, capacity-oriented practitioners typically advocate for the solving of consumer's presenting problems.
McMillen, J. Curtis; Morris, Lisa; and Sherraden, Michael, "Ending Social Work's Grudge Match: Problems Versus Strengths" (2004). Muskie School of Public Service. 5.