If you’re like most case workers and advocates, you feel there is already too much paperwork. So while this information might not exactly lighten the load, hopefully it will help you make sense of this tool and use it most effectively (and efficiently!).
This particular strengths assessment includes nine different life domains, which are listed in the center column. They are: Daily Living Situation, Financial, Vocational/Educational, Family/Relationships, Health, Social Support/Leisure, Recovery, and Spirituality/Cultural. The three columns are Current Status, Aspirations, and Resources.
Assessment is often completed in your second meeting with a new client. This gives you a chance to let him know that at the next meeting you’d like to hear his story and get to know what he would like to work towards. It may be helpful to think of this assessment simply as a conversational tool to get to know your client in a holistic way instead of simply knowing about his problem situation.
While it may seem most natural to begin your meeting by asking something along the lines of, “So tell me about what’s going on now”, this actually creates a challenge for you to try to keep the rest of the meeting strengths focused since your client is starting with her problem situation. Instead, try to begin with the middle column of the assessment and ask a question about what she wants. “What would you like your life to look like?” is a broad, open-ended question that will often help get the conversation started, and as she thinks and talks about what she’d like her life to look like, she ends up talking about the current problem situation, as well as resources that are in place. Your job is to listen and learn and get to know her. As much as possible, try not to worry about filling in all those boxes. Instead, jot down notes (always ask permission to do this at the beginning of your meeting), then transfer the relevant pieces to the assessment after she leaves. You’ll find that she has talked about the most important pieces and if there are blanks, you can ask those questions at your next meeting.
At the end of the assessment, ask your client to identify the top four things that he wants to work on. These become his goals and get transferred to the next tool: Personal Goal Plan