Social work and social workers have long been concerned with families. Historically, most approaches to social work with families have focused on individual pathology and problem solving or have considered problems of a family member to be symptoms of family dysfunction. In contrast, other approaches to social work have focused on growth, function, and healing. This article describes both problem-focused and growth-focused approaches to practice and presents a strengths approach to practice that values families and builds resilience. Assumptions of the strengths approach are discussed and applied to work with families through a case example.

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