Strengths-Based Engagement and Practice: Creating Effective Helping Relationships by Bob A. BertolinoStrengths-Based Engagement and Practice: Creating Effective Helping Relationships by Bob A. Bertolino

Strengths-Based Engagement and Practice: Creating Effective Helping Relationships

byBob A. Bertolino

Paperback | January 27, 2009

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This new text lpresents a wealth of ideas and methods for using collaborative, strengths-based practice by social workers or counselors. It looks at the conditions, factors, and practices that most often lead to success in therapeutic outcomes and translates them into common-sense practical methods.


Through in-depth discussion, client examples, clinical vignettes, and exercises the author shows  practitioners how to create a respectful attitude by becoming: culturally sensitive; collaborative; client infomred; competency based; and change oriented. It is based on decades of research  that have been demonstrated to be influential in therapeutic outcomes.

Bob Bertolino, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Counseling at Maryville University in St. Louis, Missouri. He is also Sr. Clinical Advisor at Youth In Need, Inc. Bob has taught workshops throughout the United States, Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, and the United Kingdom. He has...
Title:Strengths-Based Engagement and Practice: Creating Effective Helping RelationshipsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:416 pages, 9 × 7.4 × 0.8 inPublished:January 27, 2009Publisher:Pearson EducationLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0205569048

ISBN - 13:9780205569045

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Table of Contents




Part I


Chapter 1   The Atmosphere of Practice

The Big Picture: Macro Factors and Helping Relationships

The General Efficacy of Psychotherapy

Professional Discipline

Competency and Effectiveness

The Scientist-Practitioner

The Reflective Practitioner

Therapist Effects

Practice and Setting

Personal Philosophy and Worldview

Opening Conversations for Change: Becoming Strengths-Based

Creating a Culture of Care and Respect


Chapter 2    An Ecology of Ideas: Foundations of Strengths-Based Engagement (SBE)

Multiple Perspectives and Ecology

Hybrid Responses: Eclecticism and Integration

Beyond Macro and Micro Levels: Strengthening Integration through Research

Primary Agendas in Research

Agenda 1: Empirically Supported Treatments (ESTs) and Evidenced-Based
Practices (EBPs) (Model-Based Research)

Agenda 2: Common Factors
Agenda 3: Empirically Supported Therapy Relationships (ESRs)

Agenda 4: Outcomes Management

Intersection and Convergence in Research

Effective Therapy and Universal Principles

Reflecting on Philosophy and Research

Core Premises of SBE

Client Contributions

The Therapeutic Relationship and Alliance

Cultural Competence

Change as a Process

Expectancy and Hope

Method and Factor of Fit



Part II


Chapter 3    Keys to Collaborative Partnerships: First Steps in Engagement

Keys to Collaboration in Initial Engagement

Collaboration Key #1: Service Expectations

Collaboration Key #2: Attendance of Meetings/Sessions

Collaboration Key #3: The Format of Meetings/Sessions  

Collaboration Key #4: The Physical Space and Setting of Sessions         

Collaboration Key #5: The Timing, Length, and Frequency of Sessions

Collaboration Key #6: The Open-Door Perspective           

Collaboration Key #7: Pre-Meeting/Session Change

Collaboration Key #8: Process and Outcome-Informed


Chapter 4  Active Client Engagement: The Language of Change

Creating Listening Space

Attending, Listening, and Change

The Effects of Language on Psychology and Physiology

Attending and Listening as Core Conditions of Client Engagement

Acknowledgment as a Path to Possibility

Dissolving Impossibility Talk

Future-Talk: Acknowledgement and a Vision for the Future

Creating Further Possibilities of Change through Language

Giving permission




Matching Language

Incorporating Process-Oriented Feedback

Putting it all Together: Constructing Conversations for Change



Part III


Chapter 5   Establishing Structure and Direction: Using Information-Gathering Processes

Generative Conversations: Information-Gathering Processes as Gateways to Change

Strengths-Based Information-Gathering: Formal Processes

Introducing Formal Information-Gathering Processes

General Information-Gathering Questions

Specific Content Area Questions


Implementing Outcome Measurement

Strengths-Based Information-Gathering: Informal Processes

Funneling: Creating Direction and Increased Focus

Action-Talk: Gaining Clarity with Problems and Goals

Further Techniques for Gaining a Focus Future

Determining Progress Toward Goals: Identifying Indicators of Change

Using Scaling and Percentage-Based Questions

Determining Concerns and Goals with Multiple Clients Collaborating with Outside Helpers


Chapter 6 Mapping the Topography of Change: Understanding Clients’ Orientations

Therapy Theories and Factor of Fit

From Philosophy to Theory

Inviting, Acknowledging, and Matching: Client Orientations as Compasses to Change

Influences of Context

Clients’ Theories of Change

Developing a Framework Through Secondary Matching

Domains of Change

Stages of Change

Further Considerations in Differential Matching

In Sum: Mapping the Client’s Territory

Collaboration and Decision-Making

Collaboration in Case Conferences, Staffings, and Meetings



Part IV


Chapter 7  Changing Views and Perspectives, Part I: Exceptions and Differences

Negotiating the New: Orienting Toward Views

Clients’ Stories as Pathways to Problems and Possibilities

Problematic Stories

Cognition, Attention, & Reciprocation

The Matter of “Questions”

Identifying and Building on Exceptions

Build Accountability Through Language

Find Counterevidence to Problems
Draw Distinctions between Multiple Statements, multiple Actions, or Between Statements and Actions
Use Splitting to Draw Distinctions
Find Alternative Stories or Frames of Reference to Fit the Same Evidence or Facts

Search for hidden strengths

The Q-As of Resilience: Fostering the Person of the Client

Identify valuing witnesses

Rewriting New Life Stories

The Person is Not the Problem: Using Externalizing Conversations


Chapter 8 Changing Views and Perspectives, Part II: Patterns of Attention

Facilitating Shifts in Attention

Finding a Vision for the Future

Suggest That Clients Focus on What Has Worked rather than What Has Not

Suggest That Clients think of at Least One Thing That Would Challenge or Get Them to Cast Doubt on Their Thoughts

Suggest That Clients Recall Other Aspects of Situations They Are Remembering

Suggest a Change in Some Quality of Remembered Experience

Identify and Integrate Unincorporated Aspects of Self

Shift between the Past, Present, and Future

Suggest That Clients Shift from Focusing on Their Internal Experience to Focusing on the External Environment or Other People or Vice-Versa

Suggest That Clients Shift Their Sensory Attention

Orient Toward Balance

Stories and Metaphor

Further Mediums of Change: Written Word, Music, and Film

Conversational and Consulting Teams (CCTs)

Introduction of CCTs to Clients

Foundational Ideas

Preparation and Posture of the CCT

The Format


Chapter 9  Changing Actions and Interactions, Part I: Identifying and Altering

Repetitive Patterns

Action and Interaction in Context: The Construction of Patterns

The Landscape or Action and Interaction: Identifying Problematic Patterns

Preparing for Movement: Orienting Toward Action

Depatterning Patterns of Action and Interaction

Change the Frequency/Rate of the Complaint or the Pattern Around theComplaint

Change the Location of the Performance of the Complaint

Change the Duration of the Complaint or the Pattern Around the Complaint

Change the Time (Hour/Time of Day, Week, Month or Time of Year) of the Complaint or the Pattern Around the Complaint

Change the Sequence (order) of Events Involved in or Around the Complaint

Interrupt or Otherwise Prevent the Occurrence of the Complaint

Add a new element to the Complaint

Break Up Any Previously Whole Element of the Complaint into Smaller Elements

Reverse the Direction of Striving in the Performance of the Problem (also Referred to as Paradox or Prescribing the Symptom)

Link the Occurrence of the Complaint to Another Pattern That is a Burdensome Activity(also Referred to as Ordeal)

Change the Body Behavior/Performance of the Problem or Complaint



Chapter 10   Changing Actions and Interactions, Part II: Identifying and Amplifying
Solution Patterns
Repatterning Through Solutions

Find Out About Any helpful Changes That Have Happened Before therapy Began

Find Out About Previous Solutions to Problems (Exceptions), Including Partial

Solutions and Partial Successes, and Actions Associated with Those Solutions

Search for Contexts in Which There is Evidence of Competency and/or Good Problem Solving or Creative Skills

Find Out What Happens as the Problem Ends or Starts to End

Find Out Why the Problem is not Worse/Using Strengths as a Countermeasure

Rituals of Connection and Continuity: Balancing Security and Change Rituals of Transition: Action Methods with Meaning

Putting Ideas to Work: Creating Action Plans



Part V


Chapter 11      Future Interactions and Sessions: Patterns of Client Responses

Continuous Engagement: Exploring Client Experiences and Revisiting Preferences

Beyond First Sessions: Continuing Conversations for Change

Revisiting the Role of Outcome-Oriented Feedback

Each Session as its Own Entity: Reorienting to Clients’ Stories

When Clients Report New Concerns or Problems

When Clients Reports are Ambiguous or Vague

Integrating Outcome-Oriented Feedback to Clarify Ambiguity

When Clients Report No Change or Deterioration

Coping Sequence Questions

Joining the Pessimism

"No-Talk” Clients

Keys for Negotiating Impasses


Chapter 12   Emerging and Evolving Stories: Building on Progress and Change

When Improvement is Reported or Identified

The Dynamic Duo: Attribution and Speculation

Share Credit for Change

What Else? Continuing Conversations to Build on Change

Making New Connections Though Linking

Revisiting Outcome-Oriented Feedback

Situating Change in Relation to Goals and Preferred Futures

Extrapolations: Growing New Stories

Therapeutic Letters to Clients

Documenting New Life Stories

Preparing for Transitions

Putting Change in Context: Managing Setbacks

Anticipating Hurdles and Perceived Barriers and Extending Change into the Future

Transition/Celebratory Rituals

In Through the Out Door: States of Transition



Part VI


Chapter 13      Evolution in Context: Constructing New Worlds through Respect and Dignity

Changing Therapists’ Views and Patterns

Ongoing Self-Reflection

Using Frameworks to Stimulate New Ideas

Supervision as a Parallel Process

Reflecting Consultations

Characteristics of Successful and Effective Therapists

Effectiveness, Longevity, and Self-Care

We All Go Together: Creating Strengths-Based Organizations

A Culture of Feedback

Proactive Inquiry

Philosophy in Action

People in Places

Coming Full Circle



Appendix “A”