What is a strengths-based approach to care?

Strengths-based practice is a collaborative process between the person supported by services and those supporting them, allowing them to work together to determine an outcome that draws on the person’s strengths and assets. As such, it concerns itself principally with the quality of the relationship that develops between those providing and those being supported, as well as the elements that the person seeking support brings to the process. [1] Working in a collaborative way promotes the opportunity for individuals to be co-producers of services and support rather than solely consumers of those services. [2]

A strengths-based approach to care, support and inclusion says let’s look first at what people can do with their skills and their resources and what can the people around them do in their relationships and their communities. People need to be seen as more than just their care needs – they need to be experts and in charge of their own lives.

Alex Fox, chief executive of the charity Shared Lives

The phrases ‘strengths-based approach’ and ‘asset-based approach’ are often used interchangeably. The term ‘strength’ refers to different elements that help or enable the individual to deal with challenges in life in general and in meeting their needs and achieving their desired outcomes in particular. These elements include: