Toward Building a Culture of Strengths in U.S. MSW Programs

  • Linda Plitt Donaldson Catholic University of America
  • Barbara P. Early The Catholic University of America
  • Min-Ling Wang The Catholic University of America
Keywords: Social work education, strengths, assets, social work practice, culture of strengths

Abstract

Social work has embraced the strengths perspective as a vital part of micro, mezzo, and macro practice. Yet the authors’ experience suggests that the medical model of deficits, disease, and disorder remains the dominant paradigm. This exploratory study sought to determine how and to what extent strengths-based practice is integrated into the MSW practice curriculum. Forty-four (44) of 181 programs responded to a 12-item web-based survey. Quantitative and qualitative responses indicate an almost universal awareness of and attention to integrating strengths-based content. However, a smaller number of programs appear to be looking beyond curriculum content towards the creation of a broader culture of strengths. Even so, challenges remain toward overcoming a pathological orientation in social work practice curricula.

Author Biographies

Linda Plitt Donaldson, Catholic University of America
MSW, PhD Assistant Professor National Catholic School of Social Service
Barbara P. Early, The Catholic University of America
PhD, LCSW Associate Professor National Catholic School of Social Service
Min-Ling Wang, The Catholic University of America
PhD Candidate National Catholic School of Social Service
Published
2009-12-15
Section
Articles