Empowerment The “Process of increasing personal, interpersonal, and political power so that individuals, families, and communities can take action to improve their situations.” (Gutierrez 1994 p. 209)
Strength-based Perspective Focuses on individual, family, and community strengths and competency. This is in contrast to other professions which focus on deficits or maladaptive functioning (pathology). Focusing on strengths gives people the power to build on what resources they already possess, what skills and competencies they have already mastered to overcome the obstacles they are faced with.
Collaboration Collaborative work recognise that each client is the expert in their own life; that clients have the most knowledge as to what their needs are, and what resources they need to access. Collaborative work ensures that clients are invested in the outcomes of interventions, by giving them joint responsibility and recognising their abilities and potential to succeed.
Client-centred approach Focuses on the needs of clients and to let their needs and abilities guide welfare work practice. Client-centred approach ensures that interventions are collaborative and individualised. Client-centred approach seeks to empower the individual to direct the intervention and assess what resources they need.
Person-In-Environment Recognises the client, their environment and the interaction between them. Coined by Florence Hollis (1964) Person-In-Environment (PIE) or “the person-in-the situation” stresses a person’s physical, social, and psychological realities as well as the social realities that both define and limit that person. Social and welfare workers seek to examine both the personal, and the social aspects of all ‘problems’ be they social problems, or personal ones. Most intervention happens at the individual level with system approaches to problem solving seek mainly to improve individual functioning.
Ecosystems Approach Similar to Person-In-Environment, Ecosystems approach seeks to intervene at a level of systems. Developed in the 1970’s and 1980’s Ecosystems approach seeks to identify and improve ecological conditions. This approach was developed by Meyer, Germain and Gitterman, & Maluccio Meyer (1988). The paradigm on ecosystems “considers environmental variables as interrelated and reciprocal with the person variables, and therefore environmental intervention must be included among the treatments of choice.” (p.287) Germain (1979): “In an ecological view, [social work] practice is directed at improving transactions between people and environments in order to enhance adaptive capacities and improve environments for all who function within them” (pp. 7-8)