Updated: Aug 29
A strength-based approach is an alternative way of thinking about how to work for change, beginning with ourselves (Stoerkel, 2021). There is a growing emphasis on self-directed support, self-management of illness and long-term conditions, and collaboration to achieve better outcomes. Consequently, interest in identifying and building on the strengths and capacities of those receiving services as a technique to assist them in resolving problems and delivering their own solutions has risen exponentially (Stoerkel, 2021). Strength-based approaches can emphasise individual, family, group, and organisational strengths. Conceptualising the Soapbox model as strength-based allows us to examine how using human strengths can help in large-scale rehabilitation and empowerment. Through the Soapbox model, we try to focus on the health and well-being of individuals, which means adopting an asset-based strategy to promote positive attitudes and resilience.
Strength-based community development techniques focus on magnifying existing strengths to build better, more sustainable communities, by using the talents of local citizens, the power of local associations, and the supportive functions of the Soapbox model. One example of this can be seen through the Soapbox magazine, in which communities gain confidence in their potential to be producers rather than beneficiaries of development through promoting pride in accomplishments and a recognition of what individuals have to offer.
Using strength-based interventions in the Soapbox model has a beneficial psychological impact, especially in improving individual well-being through the creation of hope. In my second community outreach interview, I discussed the individual’s historical mental health concerns and asked them to list the aspects that they believed were essential to their recovery. The ability to hope, as well as gaining confidence in one's own thoughts and judgements, were noted as the most crucial aspects. One goal of the Soapbox model is to encourage individuals to see beyond their immediate difficulties and dare to imagine a future that inspires them, offering hope that things may change. Strength-based techniques have demonstrated significant benefits in creating and sustaining hope for individuals, as well as improving personal well-being. The Soapbox model, which incorporates a strength-based approach, creates an environment of optimism, hope, and potential, which is indicated as successfully producing effective results.
It is essential for a social worker to recognise that all people have strengths. This notion might be difficult to apply sometimes. Nonetheless, it is critical to recognise that community organisations and individuals may have resources, insight, and skills that were not previously known. Everything that helps deal with life's challenges, in my opinion, may be a strength. For example, I define a person's strengths as what they have discovered about themselves (many of my respondents from my interview have described how their experiences have strengthened them and increased their self-awareness, and how they can utilise those experiences to be role models for their own families). Personality characteristics and virtues (for example, a sense of humour, independence, inventiveness, or a drive to learn and develop one's talents) are also sources of personal strength. I have also applied strengths-based practices during my interview and in the program Pizza Night, which has helped me uncover several hidden strengths I possess.
Our strengths-based approach through Pizza Night Info Sessions recognises and builds on communities' existing collective strengths. This method results in more sustainable transformation and allows everyone in the community to contribute to the creation of a better future. Everyone has something to give, and everyone can learn at the Pizza Night Info Session. Rather than being the expert, facilitators acknowledge participants' competence and are open to learning as well. The strength-based approach in Pizza Night Info Session enables people to view themselves at their finest in order to understand their own worth. It then enables a person to take that value forwards and capitalise on their strengths rather than their flaws.
Overall, through using strength-based approaches in the Soapbox model, I came to understand that I have not only developed my own strengths but also acknowledged the strengths of community members as well. The strength-based approach in the Soapbox model analyses not only the individual but also the individual's surroundings. This method also reveals any restrictions that may hinder an individual's progress, and may examine ways to overcome these barriers.
Stoerkel., E. (2021). “What is a strength-based approach?” (Incl. Activities and Examples).