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Teaching a Strengths Perspective in Child Protection Work
The Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work (2016)
  • Rebecca G. Mirick, Salem State University
This article describes a pedagogical strategy that provides an opportunity for BSW students to think critically about their interpretations of child protection clients and begin to engage with a strengths perspective. This teaching strategy uses reactance theory to introduce a nonpathologizing approach to client resistance. By reframing client resistance and reconsidering assumptions, this approach lays the groundwork for the use of a strengths perspective with involuntary clients and the development of collaborative relationships. Students' written feedback before and after the class (N=56) describes their experiences with this teaching strategy. The feedback suggests that while a deficits-based approach seems deeply rooted in some students' assumptions about clients, perhaps especially in child protection where the consequences of parental resistance are significant, many students found this teaching strategy facilitated their consideration of alternative explanations of the client's behavior and empathy toward the client. Implications of this are discussed.
  • reactance,
  • BSW education,
  • child protection,
  • resistance,
  • strengths perspective
Publication Date
Citation Information
Rebecca G. Mirick. "Teaching a Strengths Perspective in Child Protection Work" The Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work Vol. 21 Iss. 1 (2016) p. 13 - 22
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