Megan Walkhouse, Justine Sharpe, Jasmine Baker, Hanan Baalbaki,
Biju Aryal, Manpreet Brar
Authors’ note: This presentation was prepared for SOWK 305: Individual and Family Practice, taught by Hellen Gateri
WHAT IS BRIEF
Is a short-term process focused on helping
the client to resolve or effectively manage a
can help in them to be optimist about change
exceptions together and help in reducing the
desired change. (https://cognitive-therapy-associates.com/types-of-
feeling of isolation.
A caring and empathic counsellor can
encourage clients to get on track, explore for
specific problem or challenge, or to make a
Small change on thought process of a client
Is typically solution-oriented and sessions
Goal setting is the hallmark of this approach
are more geared towards here-and-now
The techniques for brief counselling are : Pre-
aspects of the problem than on exploration of
counselling Change, The Miracle Question,
Helping Clients Get on Track, Looking for
The major emphasis of brief counseling is
Exception, Finding Strength in Adversity,
focusing on strengths, resources, problem
Using Solution Talk, and The Change
solving, solutions and collaboration with
(Shebib, 2017, p. 216-221)
This approach takes the perspective that clients already possess the strength and
resources to solve their problems
It is the counsellors role to assist clients in discovering these and then build upon them
with the client in a collaborative way
This approach looks at what tools the client has, not what they don’t have
(Corcoran, 1999, p. 462-463)
Joining: Counsellors build a foundation to aid in attaining solution-focused goals in brief
counselling settings (Corcoran, 1999, p. 463-465)
Exception Finding: helping clients realize they are the source of successes they experience
rather than external forces (Corcoran, 1999, p. 467-468)
Using solution talk: ask questions that highlight client past successes, celebrate them, and
use these instances as opportunities to foster the client’s sense of self-efficacy (Shebib, 2014, p.
The Strengths Approach is: (Early & GlenMaye, 2000)
Based on the perspective that people have capacity for growth and change (p. 119)
Attempts to understand clients in terms of their strengths (p.119)
Honors the clients expertise in their own lives and issues-social worker and clients are partners (p.119)
Focus on identifying strengths and mobilizing resources that improve situations (p.123)
How is this used in Brief Counselling? (Shebib, 2017)
The Miracle question- “if you woke up and your problem was solved what would your life look like?”
Finding strength in adversity (p.219)
Looking for Exceptions (p.218)
BENEFITS OF BRIEF COUNSELLING
Brief counselling shares a value base similar to that of social work, especially in child welfare
(Corcoran, 1999, p. 461)
Does not dwell in a client’s past since digging in to the past seems to have limited usefulness in
changing the future (Corcoran, 1999, p. 463).
Focuses on acting to improve or solve a problem within a short duration (Corcoran, 1999, p. 463).
Provides measurable short-term goals by focusing on that one thing that the client can do at the
current moment (Elliot, 2011, p. 44).
PITFALLS OF BRIEF COUNSELLING
The nature of the client relationship usually depends on the client goal who might be unwilling to
(Corcoran, 1999, p. 465)
The counsellor may not be aware of the problems so that he/she can remedy the problems which
affect the clients.
(Corcoran, 1999, p. 464)
Discards other information that seems important in other treatment modalities
(Corcoran, 1999, p. 465)
Makes those in the therapy feel misunderstood and not et on their emotional level
(Elliot, 2011, p. 44)
Major Arguments: (Shebib, 2014, p.216)
Major Arguments: (Shebib, 2014, p.217)
-Putting time and energy into “finding the root causes
of a problem” is unnecessary
-Change is already occurring through the process of
-Excessive information about the issue is also not
-Focus on “change and solution possibilities”
Major Theories: (Trepper et al. 2006, p. 133)
-Focus on the next step for the client
-Focuses on the positive aspects within the client and
reaffirming that energy back to them
-Transferring goals into forms of action
- “Future focused” & “goal-directed”
Major Theories: (Shebib, 2014, p.217-218)
A question that asks the client to
view their life based on the
occurence of a miracle that solved
“How do you suppose your life would look if
you woke up tomorrow and, by some
miracle, your problems were solved. What
would indicate to you that your problem
has been solved?”
Helping the client recognize
instances wherein they were
successful at managing their
“Can you identify what is different
in those moments when you are
open to feedback from your boss?”
Focusing on the client’s strengths
and problem solving abilities as a
result of past
“In what ways do you think you
have become stronger as a result of
the challenges you have faced?”
Shebib, 2017, p. 216-221
Encouraging the client to take
control of their problem by
focusing on their skills and
“Think about a time you have
successfully coped with a problem;
what did you do in that instance?”
A tool used to motivate the client
in the direction of positive change
by highlighting possible
“What could be the worst possible
outcome for you? Now, what
about a great outcome, what does
that look like?”
Unable to find a job
Get my diploma
Get a good job
Shebib, 2017, p. 216-221
Alexander Street, a ProQuest Company. (2011,Dec 6th ). Solution Focused Therapy: An Adolescent Client [video File]. Retrieved from
Cognitive Therapy Associates: retrived from https://cognitive-therapy-associates.com/types-of-therapy/brief-therapy/
Corcoran, J. (1999). Solution-Focused Interviewing with Child Protective Service Clients. Child Welfare League of America, 78, 461-479.
Early, T. J., & GlenMaye, L. F. (2000). Valuing families: Social work practice with families from a strengths perspective. Social Work,
45(2), 118-130. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/61669746?accountid=12212
Elliott, Joanne L. "a review of choices: interviewing and counselling skills for canadians." Journal of Employment Counseling 48.1 (2011):
Shebib, B. (2017). Choices: Interviewing and Counselling Skills for Canadians. (6th ed.). Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Pearson., 216-220.
Shebib, B. (2014). Choices: Interviewing and Counselling Skills for Canadians. (5th ed.) Toronto, Ontario: Pearson Canada Inc
Trepper, T., Dolan, Y., McCollum, E., & Nelson, T. (2006). Steve De Shazer and the Future of Solution-Focused Therapy. 32, 133-139.
DHARAMVIR SINGH BRAR
#B 12, 392 Thompson Drive ,THOMPSON, MB | (C) 2046796179 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Seeking the position where my work experience and skills will contribute towards achieving the goals and objectives of the
Safeway –THOMP SON, MB
SEP 2016 to FEB
SUBWAY – THOMPSON, MB
MAY 2016 to AUG
Vale Inco – THOMPSON, MB
AUG 2016 to till
Driftwood Nickel Taxi- THOMPSOM,MB
DEC 2016 to till date
New Guru Nanak Engg Works –Talwandi
JULY 2012 to
Sacred Heart School (Grade 10)
Certificate course in Tool & Die Technology
Diploma in Maintainance & Plant Production
Degree in Welding Technology
Strong team working, leadership and
Ability to ensure quality control,
compliance and completion on work on
Good understanding of the emergency
situations and know the roles.
Good written and verbal
Expertise in MS OFFICE
Excellent knowledge about computer and software life
cad/cam, internet applications.
Computer repair skills include hardware skill and
installation like drivers, motherboard ,memory upgrade
A valid class 4F driver license.
Very quick learner and physical fit to perform different
Amber MacKay, Graham Witten, Shaylagh Stevenson &
Strength Based Approach
According to Shebib (2017) a strength approach is a counselling perspective used, which assumes that
individuals and communities have assets and resources that can be helpful in solving their own issues. It
emphasizes a clients positive attributes and skills to help counsellors guide their clients in combating learned
helplessness, highlighting their specific strengths over their perceived weaknesses (p.185). It is important for
counsellors to establish a positive relationship with their clients as “the goal of the strength-based practitioner
should be not only to learn about client strengths but also to understand something about the contexts which
allow them to be present” (Bozic, Lawthorn & Murray, 2017. p.29), for the client to draw on.
In the Strength based approach counsellors are charged with
assisting clients to discover how they can best help themselves,
“Treatment is not just fixing what is broken; it is nurturing what
is best within ourselves” (Smith, 2006).
Smith (2006) argues that strength-based counselling methods are
born out of positivist psychology, which is “an optimistic
thinking style [that] helps one to maintain hope, increases one’s
resilience, and improves one’s chances of a successful outcome”
(Pulla, 2017. p.106)
Prevention Research in Psychology
Solution Focused Therapy Movement
Narrative Therapy Movement
Strength-Based counselling is rooted in positive psychology
which “emphasizes individuals’ well-being, [and] helps clients to
construct positive cognitions about the future through optimism,
hope, and faith” (Smith, 2006. p. 22). As well as in the Social
Work Practice which guided practitioners in placing an emphasis
on looking at the experiences their clients had gone through,
helping them to identify the skills which supported their survival
through these experiences (Smith, 2006. p. 22-23).
Important Practice for Social Workers
Using a Strength-Based Approach
- Hope and reflection are two essential underlying components of strength-based approach (Pulla, 2017.
- It is crucial that social workers continuously engage in Reflection. Through reflection you are better able to
understand yourself, and your strengths. Being able to Identify your own strengths will aid you in the process of
helping individuals identify strengths within themselves.
- When using a strengths perspective, it is important for social workers to understand the importance of
experiencing feelings such as hope within their own lives. It is hard to support a client through their journey,
when you haven't experienced these emotions yourself. Having hope will also help you to continue to believe
in the resilience of people, their ability to heal, and their potential bounce back against all odds (Pulla, 2017.
- It is crucial that the practitioner using a strength-based approach truly believes that the individual seeking
help has the capacity to change their reality.
- Acknowledging the importance of being aware that issues the individual is dealing with have the potential to
overshadow personal strengths (Pulla, 2017. p.99-100).
Using a Strength-Based
Model to Educate Parents
with Autistic Children
- Steiner (2011) designed a study in which the objective was to observe the
outcomes of two situations involving autistic children and their parents.
In one condition, the therapist spoke to the parents focusing on their child’s deficits, and in
the other the therapist spoke to the parent’s highlighting the child’s strengths (p.180-182).
- The results supported the idea that using a strength based approach to educate parents with autistic children
can improve the quality of child-parent relationship interactions, and supported positive parental influence
- It was found that when the therapist focused their comments on the child’s deficits, the parents would accept
these comments and even go on to make more negative statements. Where as when the therapist made
comments about the child’s strengths, the parent affirmed these statements and even used the opportunity to
express more of their child’s strengths. Using a strength-based approach in this situation enhanced a more
positive view on child behaviour (Steiner, 2011. p.186-187).
- Although this study demonstrates the potential positive impact that a strength-based approach can have, it is
important to acknowledge that this study did not measure impact over time. It would be unethical to prolong
treatment that focused on the child’s deficit (Steiner, 2011).
“Practicing from a strengths perspective requires that we shift the way we think about, approach, and relate to our
clients. Rather than focusing exclusively or dominantly on problems, your eye turns to towards possibility. In the thicket
of trauma, pain, and trouble, you see blooms of hope and transformation”
-- Dennis Saleebey
(Shebib, 2017, p. 187)
Started social work in 1920s,
began promoting strengths based
ideas in 1940s (Kaplan, 2002)
Influenced many of the strength
based thinkers today (Hall, 2014,
Addressed power imbalances in
social worker/client relationships
Focused on applying strength based
theory to mental illness (Oza, p. 379)
Developed 8 categories of strength
based questions that can be asked to
clients: survival, change, meaning,
perspective, support, exception,
possibility and esteem (Oza, p. 377)
Focuses on Empowerment, and stays clear of “Rescuing” (Pulla, 2017).
Focuses on getting the client to discover their own strengths, virtues, and positive
characteristics, while offering support while needed (Pulla, 2017).
The key elements are centered around the notion that all people possess strengths, virtues and
the ability to change themselves; stays clear of the clients problems which can hinder their
ability to see their own strengths; and that the client is their own expert at solving their problems
“Strengths-based practice in simple terms present approaches that promote resilience as opposed
to dealing with deficits” (Pulla, 2017, p. 100).
Understands mental health in a more holistic way by focusing not only on mental illnesses, but also
focusing on the individual’s ability to grow and reach their maximum potential (Wong, 2006).
Leads to better care using the belief that all individuals have the potential for positive change. This also
leads to health promotion and prevention by reducing levels of stress (Wong, 2006).
Leads to more possible outcomes and allows the counsellor to focus more on the client’s needs and
goals. (Wong, 2006)
Tends to focus mostly on westernized ideologies of strengths, failing to acknowledge other cultural
ideologies of strengths (Wong, 2006).
Focuses mostly on current, scientific definitions of the accumulation of knowledge, rather than a
broader scope that is inclusive of various perceptions of strengths and character-traits (Wong, 2006).
An Example of Strengths-Based Model in Social Work
Strengths-based models are used quite often in community social work practice when offering support
to clients in their role as a family and community member, and involves safeguarding intervention (Fox,
et. al., 2014)
Adopting a strengths-based approach in a community can be as simple as volunteer work (Foz, et. al.,
Helping clients find their place and role within their community is important, as individuals who
experience isolation are more at risk for health problems (Fox et. al., 2014)
Safeguarding involves empowering the at-risk person through the development of relationships (Fox, et.
Group Care facilities utilize strength based assessment tools with their clients. To assist them in
confidence building and self esteem development.
Bozic, N., Lawthom, R., & Murray, J. (2017). Exploring the context of strengths – a new approach to
strength-based assessment. Educational Psychology in Practice, 34(1), 26-40.
Fox, A., Gollins, T., Romeo, L., Thomas, J., Walker, B., Woodham, B. 2014. Developing a wellbeing and
strengths-based approach to social work practice: Changing culture. Think Local, Act Personal.
Retrieved October 2, 2018, from
Hall, J. C. (2014). How Social Constructionism Could Inform the Education of Social Work Practitioners: An
Interview with Dennis Saleebey. Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping. 20(4), 8-15.
Kaplan, C. P. (2002). An early example of brief strengths-based practice: Bertha Reynolds at the National
Maritime Union. Smith College Studies in Social Work. 72(3), 403-416.
Nicholson, J. (2018). Top 3 Positive Psychology Exercises [Digital image]. Retrieved September 30, 2018, from
Staff2orcommissionasd. (2018). Celebrate the Spectrum of Strength [Digital image]. Retrieved September 30, 2018,
Oza, M. (2017). Strengths based approach in mental illness-need for a measurement scale. Indian Journal of Health &
Wellbeing. 8(5), 376-381.
Pegg, M. (2013). S is for Dennis Saleebey: Focusing on strengths in social work. The Positive Encourager. Retrieved
Pulla, V. (2017). Strengths-Based Approach in Social Work: A distinct ethical advantage. International Journal of
Innovation, Creativity and Change, 3, 97-114. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
Shebib, B. (2017). Choices: Interviewing and counselling skills for Canadians. Toronto: Pearson.
Smith, E. (2006). The Strength-Based Counselling Model. The Counselling Psychologist, 34(1), 13-79.
Steiner, A. M. (2011). A strength-based approach to parent education for children with autism. Journal of
Positive Behavior Interventions, 13, 178-190.
Steyaert, J. (2009). 1934 Bertha Reynolds. History of Social Work. Retrieved from:
Wong. J. (2006). Strength-Centered Therapy: A social constructivist, virtues-based psychotherapy.
Psychotherapy: Research, Theory, Practice, Training. 43, 2, 133-146. Retrieved September 30, 2018
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