Professional Fields

Mental Health

Some of the earliest work in the contemporary Strengths Approach got its start in the Mental Health field. Two important books include:

♦  Rapp, Charles, A. (1998). The Strengths Model: Case Management with People Suffering from Severe and Persistent Mental Illness. NY: Oxford Univ. Press

♦  Saleebey, Dennis. (ed.) 3rd Edition (2002). The Strengths Perspective in Social Work Practice. NY:  Longman

New in 2010

 (2009) Clark, Michael D., The Strengths Perspective in Criminal Justice. In D. Saleebey (ed.) Fifth Edition (2009).  The Strengths Perspective in Social Work Prac­tice.. New York:  Longman


An early article speaking to the use of the Strengths Perspective vs. Deficit-based treatment with mandated clients:

(1995) Clark, Michael D., “The Problem with Problem Solving: A Critical Review” Journal for Juvenile Justice and Detention Services, 10(1), 30-35. Click here to download the full article

This work has spread throughout the treatment field, most recently supported by Resiliency research and Positive Psychology. Please see our bibliography and web links for new resources for information on these important movements within the Strengths model.  


Our Center focuses on treatment with mandated clients. Here is an article from the Social Work journal that speaks to the issue of client self-determination and mandated treatement:

(1997) Clark, Michael D.,  “Withstanding ‘Friendly Fire’: A Frontline Reply to O’Hare” Social Work, 42(2), 203-204. Click here to download the full article




Here are 10 practice principles for working with mandated clients:



(Spring, 2002) “Tips for Direct Service Practitioners: Practice Principles That Build Partnerships for Juvenile Court Work.” Juvenile Justice Training Notes Journal of the Juvenile Justice Trainers Association. Vol. 13(1). 7-8. Click here to dowload the full article



This article was published in the Motivational Interviewing newsletter. It speaks to mandated client work:



(August 2005) Motivational Interviewing and Mandated Interventions: Tempest in a Teapot? MINT Bulletin. Vol. 12(2) 30-31. Special Section/Virtual Symposium—Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers. Click here to download the full article




Additional articles that integrate new meta-analysis into mental health treatment 

(Fall 2005) Clark, Michael D.,  “Are Clients, not Treatment Methods, the Key to Creating Lasting Behavior Change?” ATTC Networker – Addiction Technology & Transfer Center National Office. Vol. 7 (2). 10-15.  Click here to download the full article

(2001) Clark, Michael D.,  “Change-Focused Youth Work: The Critical Ingredients of Positive Behavior Change” Journal of the Center for Families, Children & the Courts, Vol. 3, 59-72.    Click here to download the full article

(May, 15, 2001) "Common Factors Research" Internet article – Addiction Exchange. Mid-Atlantic Addiction Technology Transfer Center, Richmond, Virginia (USA) - Vol.3(8) Click here to download the full article


One of the most encouraging developments in mental health field is found in the review of “client-directed, outcome-informed” methods that are discussed in depth in two important publications:

Hubble, M., Duncan, B. & Miller, S. (1999). The Heart and Soul of Change: What Works in Therapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association

Duncan, B. & Miller, S., Sparks, J.,  (2004). The Heroic Client: A Revolutionary Way to Improve Effectiveness Through Client-Directed, Outcome-Informed Therapy. San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass


Selected (partial) listing of previous clients of Center for  Strength-Based Strategies (CSBS)

**Keynote addresses in bold type


For a current list of consulting clients, please refer to our Center's "Training Schedule" for 2010 


Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards, Center for Addiction Professionals, 1 day training, “The Science of Human Motivation: The Stages of Change Model”
                                    Lansing, Michigan

Southwest Key, Inc. (youth treatment & residential programs) 2-day training in Strength-based Practice and 1 day Train-the-trainer                                                
                                   Conroe, Texas 

Michigan Chapter—National Association of Social Workers, Annual Meeting, “Motivational Interviewing”                                                                                                
                                  Grand Rapids, Michigan 

Children’s Mental Health Council & Kootenai Medical Center – North Idaho Behavioral Health Program, 2 day training program: “Strength-Based Strategies”
                               Coeur d’Alene, Idaho  

Michigan Medical, PC/Center for Health Excellence, full day training for morbid obesity clinical staff: “The Stages of Change & Motivational Interviewing”
                             Grand Rapids, Michigan 

Northeast Guidance Center, 2 day training for Adult Services staff: “Motivational Interviewing”
                                           Detroit, MI

Sommerset County Local Management Board, first 2 day training in series: “Motivational Interviewing I: Bypassing Resistance-Evoking Positive Behavior Change”      
                                   Princess Anne, Maryland 

Children’s Hospital of Michigan, full day training, “A Strength-Based Approach” and “Motivational Interviewing”                                                              
                                          Detroit, Michigan  

National Association of Social Workers – West Virginia Chapter, 2004 Spring Conference,  Keynote Address: “Motivating Challenging Clients” and following workshop: “Motivational Interviewing”
                                Charleston, West Virginia 

US Department of Health, Office of Minority Health and Central State University of Ohio – Family and Community Violence Prevention Program, 2 day workshop: the Strength-based Approach                                                                                                 
                                            Wilberforce, Ohio 

Department of Mental Health-Orange County Community Mental Health Center, 2 day trainings, Strength-based Practice & Motivational Interviewing,
                                Middletown, New York  / Five sessions 

South Central Behavioral Health Services, Inc., Two training sessions, (1) The Strength-Based Approach and (2) Motivational Interviewing                       
                        Grand Island, Nebraska       
                         Hastings, Nebraska             

Placer County Collaboration Initiative, Keynote address: Integrating Client/Family Centered and Strength-based Strategies into our Policies and Practice
                                   Tahoe City, California      

New York Department of Social Services-Orange County, 2 day workshop: Strength-based Training for Sexually-abused Children and Families.
                                     Middletown, New York 

California Department of Health & Human Services – County of Placer, 2 day training: Strength-based Training for Working with Challenging Clients—Adults and Youth
                                            Loomis, California   

National Association of Social Workers – West Virginia Chapter, 2003 Spring Conference,  2 workshops: “Why do Substance Involved Adolescents Think & Act so Differently?” and “Motivational Interviewing”                                      
                                    Charleston, West Virginia     

Community-Based Behavioral Health Services in Dutchess County, 2 day training: Strength-based Strategies                                                     
                                    Poughkeepsie, New York   

Pejaro Valley Prevention Services, 2 day training: Motivational Interviewing
                                       Wastonville, California

21st Annual Michigan Statewide Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, Plenary Address:  From High-Risk to High-Yield: Using Strength-based Practice to Raise Motivation                                                                         
                                       Ypsilanti, Michigan 

Washington County Community Partnership – 4th Annual Summit,  Keynote Address: High Risk to High-Yield-Raising Motivation with Strength-based Strategies
                                 Hagerstown, Maryland    

Wicomico County Partnership for Families & Children, 2 day training in Strength-based Practice                                                                          
                                       Salisbury, Maryland 

State of Missouri, Department of Mental Health, Division of Comprehensive Psychiatric Services - Spring Training Institute,
                                 Osage Beach, Missouri   

Michigan Association of Children's Alliances & National Association of Peer Group Agencies - 1998 Annual Conference, "Partnerships: Working Together with Children & Families" Workshop presentation
                                  Ann Arbor, Michigan  

University of Michigan Medical School - 17th Annual Michigan Statewide Conference on Child Abuse & Neglect "Prevention, Assessment and Treatment" Seminar
                                   Ypsilanti, Michigan 

Strength-based Skill Building for Substance Abuse -Cross Training for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice. Puerto Rico Addiction Technology & Transfer Center (ATTC)
                                    San Juan, Puerto Rico