The strengths-based approach can be applied to many different content domains, and when applied to such a domain, the strengths-based approach can often result in a positive outcome—often times an outcome which is more desirable to a deficits-based approach.
One of the domains the authors (Maton, et al. 2004) examined was in competence-based prevention. The deficits-based approach would navigate in competence-based prevention by treating the already identified problems (2004), whereas the strengths-based approach would look to build these competencies up in order to stop these problems from ever surfacing (2004). For example, a deficits-based approach would look at a child who is misbehaving and performing poorly academically and look to treat behavior problems as they happen, possibly offering tutoring to treat the academic problems and consoling of some sort to treat the behavior problems. Contrasting with a strengths-based approach which would look at nurturing academic skills as the child develops, which aside from providing an improved academic performance from the start by recognizing and building on existing strengths identified in the child (2004). As discussed in the lecture, this will also lower the child’s chances of misbehaving in school, as academic performance is a key element in fostering confidence within children.
Another area the authors (2004) explored is the area of youth development, and health / mental health promotion. The deficits-based approach looks to prevent discrete—that is, specific problems which arise in youths and adults, whereas the strengths-based approach would look to provide positive youth development (similar to the competence-based domain), and would also look to promote physical and psychological wellness (2004). In this case, there is clearly a place for the deficits-based approach in the medical field because no matter how many preventative measures are put into place, there will always be problems that arise. That isn’t to say that the promotion of overall wellness isn’t necessary, because the strengths-based approach will result in healthier individuals overall.
The next content domain examined by the authors (2004) is the area of community psychology. This is an area where the deficits-based approach doesn’t appear to have a logical, productive place, unlike the deficits-based approaches contained in the previous two content domains. The deficits-based approach to community psychology would look to ignore the social environment’s role in causing problems, and seeks to blame the victim for anything that has gone wrong (2004). This is in direct opposition to the strengths-based approach which seeks to change the environments to provide more positive ancillary support for the persons contained in it, while also empowering groups lacking power within it (2004). An impoverished, high-crime neighborhood provides a good example to show the contrast the two approaches: A deficits-based...