The strengths model is based on two assumptions (Modrcin, Rapp, & Chamberlin, 1985; Rapp, 1998). The first assumption is that to be a successful person, regardless of whether one has a serious mental illness or not, you must be able to use, develop, and access your own potential and have the resources to do this. The second assumption is that a person's behavior is dependent on the resources he or she has available. A focus on the individual's strengths, as opposed to his or her pathology, defects, and symptoms, is the defining element of this model, making it consistent with PsyR principles.
In this model, the case manager acts as a mentor who assists the client in problem solving and resource development (Hodge & Draine, 1993). Unlike many traditional approaches, the strengths and interests of the individual are the primary emphasis. Rather than emphasizing problems such as a lack of punctuality or poor personal appearance, interventions are focused on helping persons use their strengths to succeed in natural environments of their choice and their places within that environment known as niches. Through both assertive outreach to the individual as well as to gain support and resources, the case manager facilitates the person's pursuit of interests and opportunities of his or her choice in the community. Thus, the individual has both the reasons and the motivation to arrive on time and make a good personal appearance.
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