Logo Faded 2

Meaning of Strength-Based Approach

A strengths-based approach focuses on identifying and leveraging a person’s individual strengths, abilities, and resources rather than focusing solely on limitations. This approach recognises that individuals with complex care needs, mental health challenges, and disabilities have unique talents, skills, and capacities that can be used to achieve their goals and enhance their well-being and mental health.

The Care Act 2014 in the UK introduced significant health and social care reforms, including a shift towards a more person-centred approach to care. One of the key principles of the Care Act is promoting well-being, which includes taking a strength-based practice and approach to assessments and support planning for individuals with care and support needs. The strengths-based practice under the Care Act emphasises the importance of identifying and building on an individual’s strengths, capabilities, and personal goals. It involves working collaboratively with the individual to understand their needs, preferences, and what matters to them and then developing a support plan that maximises their independence and quality of life.

In practice, a strength-based approach involves:

Logo Faded 2

Importance of a Strength-Based Approach

This approach is intended to empower individuals by recognising and valuing their abilities and assets rather than focusing on their perceived limitations. It aims to promote a more positive and holistic view of the individual, enhancing their sense of control and dignity in the care and support they receive. Recognising a person’s strengths is essential in the context of humanised care and support, and mainly, it is a matter of dignity and respect. By acknowledging a person’s strengths, we support their individuality, autonomy, and abilities.

This helps create a more positive and respectful relationship between the caregiver and the person receiving care. It shifts the focus from what they cannot do to what they can do, fostering a sense of empowerment and control over their own lives. It also encourages a shift in perspective from viewing disabilities as obstacles to be overcome to seeing them as aspects of a person’s identity that can contribute to their overall resilience and character. This empowerment can increase self-confidence and a more positive outlook on life.

strength based approach 1

By highlighting one’s abilities, we help individuals embrace the shift towards positive psychology when seeing themselves. This can counteract negative stereotypes and societal attitudes towards disability and improve community health and mental health recovery.

Examples of a Strength-Based Approach

In the health and social sector, strengths-based practices can be used when working with individuals living with mental health challenges and complex care needs. First, we should be mindful of how we treat people. Instead of focusing solely on the ‘issues’, health professionals should focus more on the strengths perspective to develop the right strengths-based interventions.

Struggle With Mobility Issues

For people living with mobility issues, a strength-based approach focuses on identifying and leveraging their existing strengths, abilities, and resources to enhance their quality of life and independence. The strengths-based approach can be used through: 

  1. Functional strengths assessment includes what the person can do independently, what support they need, and what activities they enjoy.

  2. Setting goals focuses on maximising people’s independence and quality of life, considering their strengths and interests.

  3. Adaptive strategies for implementing mobility aids or home modifications.

  4. Reliable support systems, including family, friends, and community resources, help the individual achieve a positive outcome.

Mental Health Difficulties

In mental health services, the strengths-based approach plays a crucial role in supporting individuals living with mental health difficulties. This approach focuses on identifying and leveraging a person’s own strengths and capabilities to promote recovery and well-being and help the person feel more independent in their local community.

One way the strength-based approach is used is through solution-focused therapy. By focusing on what is already working in a person’s life, solution-focused therapy helps them see their strengths and abilities more clearly, increasing motivation and confidence in overcoming mental health issues. The strengths assessments identify one’s personal strengths, such as creativity, empathy, or resilience, which can be used to overcome challenges and support human health.

Learning Disabilities

As a care and support provider primarily for people living with learning disabilities and autism, Leaf Complex Care takes a strengths-based approach to caring for people. We are committed to positive outcomes for the individuals supported and their families. The approach is grounded in the belief that every person has unique strengths and abilities that can be leveraged to enhance their quality of life. This approach recognises that focusing solely on challenges can be limiting and may overlook the individual’s potential for growth and development.

strength based approach

One key aspect of the strength-based approach is the process of identifying and recognising these strengths. This involves actively listening to the individual and those who know them well, such as family members, teachers, and our support workers, to understand what they excel at and what brings them joy and fulfilment. This process goes beyond just identifying academic or cognitive strengths and includes recognising social, emotional, and practical skills as well.

Once the strengths are identified, the next step is to build upon them. This can involve creating tailored support plans based on these strengths to help individuals achieve their goals. For example, if an individual has a talent for art, incorporating art-based activities into their learning or therapy sessions can enhance their skills and boost their self-esteem and motivation.

Another important aspect of the strength-based approach is the concept of “strength-based language.” This means we use positive and empowering language focusing on people’s abilities rather than their challenges. For example, instead of saying, “He struggles with reading,” you might say, “He is good at reading but learns best through practical experiences.”

Autism Spectrum

Our clinicians and therapy team use a strength-based approach for autistic individuals, focusing on their interests and strengths to promote engagement and learning. For example, if a young autistic individual is passionate about animals, a therapist might use this interest to create opportunities for learning and social interaction, such as visiting a petting zoo or incorporating animal-themed activities into their therapy sessions. Another aspect of the strength-based approach in autism care is recognising the individual’s sensory aspectMany individuals with autism have unique sensory preferences and sensitivities.

At Leaf Complex Care, we use the strength-based approach in supporting autistic individuals by:

  1. Person-Centred Planning – We work closely with the person supported and their families to identify strengths, preferences, and goals. This collaborative process ensures the support is tailored to the individual’s needs and aspirations.

  2. Building on Interests – We use the individual’s interests and strengths as a foundation for learning and skill development. This approach makes learning more engaging and enhances the individual’s self-esteem and motivation.

  3. Creating Supportive Environments – We design sensory-friendly environments that meet individuals’ unique sensory needs. This helps reduce stress and anxiety and promotes a sense of comfort and security.

  4. Strength-Based Communication – To ensure effective and meaningful communication, we use speech and language therapy strategies tailored to the individual’s strengths and preferences, such as visual supports or alternative communication methods.

  5. Celebrating Achievements: We recognise and celebrate achievements, no matter how small, to reinforce positive behaviours and build self-confidence.

Our therapy team consists of in-house professionals who specialise in Positive Behaviour Support (PBS), speech and language therapy, and occupational therapy. These practitioners work collaboratively to provide comprehensive and integrated support for autistic individuals and people with complex care needs.

Addiction and Substance Abuse

Individuals who are living with addiction and substance abuse challenges have inherent strengths that can be used to overcome their difficulties and achieve sustainable recovery. The strength-based approach can be used by shifting the focus from the addiction itself to the individual’s strengths and abilities. Instead of viewing the person as “addicted”, the approach emphasises their resilience, motivation, and capacity for change.

Another aspect of the strength-based approach in addiction treatment is using strengths-based assessments. These assessments help identify the individual’s strengths, such as their support network, coping skills, and personal values, which can be used to develop a personalised treatment plan.

Logo Faded 2

Person-Centred Care as a Part of a Strength-Based Approach

Person-centred care is a fundamental aspect of a strength-based approach. It mainly supports individuals with disabilities, complex care needs, mental health challenges and behaviours that challenge. In a strength-based approach, person-centred care goes hand in hand with recognising and building upon the individual’s strengths. By taking a person-centred approach, caregivers and support providers can gain a deeper understanding of the individual’s strengths, interests, and needs, which can then inform the development of a personalised care plan that leverages these strengths.

When we support an individual, a person-centred approach includes listening to their concerns, understanding their triggers, and identifying their coping mechanisms. For example, we can support people with behaviours that challenge by focusing on the individual’s strengths and preferences; our clinicians can develop strategies to help them manage their behaviour effectively rather than simply trying to control or suppress it. Person-centred care also highlights the importance of building a trusting and collaborative relationship between the individual and their caregivers. This relationship is essential for empowering individuals to take an active role in their care and support and ensuring their needs and preferences are respected and prioritised.

Logo Faded 2

Strength-Based Approach with Leaf Complex Care

At Leaf Complex Care, the strength-based approach is combined with person-centred care and involves actively identifying and building upon the individual’s strengths, talents, and capabilities. This approach starts with listening to the individual and deeply understanding their experiences, challenges, and aspirations. By taking the time to understand the individual’s perspective, caregivers and support providers can better appreciate their strengths and how these can be leveraged to promote their well-being. We develop a personalised care plan for the people we support to reach positive outcomes.

This plan is based on the individual’s strengths, preferences, and goals and outlines the strategies and supports that will be put in place to help them achieve these goals. For example, if an individual has a talent for art, their care plan might include opportunities for them to engage in art therapy as a means of self-expression and healing.

Take a moment and read more about Richard’s care journey, one of the dynamic individuals we support. Also, listen to what his family has to say about how we collaboratively supported Richard to have the best health outcomes in a caring environment based on his needs and strengths.

Contact us today for detailed information on how we can support you or your loved ones. We deliver our services across the UK with offices in Bristol, Slough, Birmingham and Somerset.

Logo Faded 2