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Copy of Empowerment Theory

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Ma. Theresa Sawit

on 26 August 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Empowerment Theory

by Jenna Garlick

Overview of definitions of empowerment
Relating empowerment to other theories
looking at the origins of empowerment thought
Philosophy, principles, components and assumptions of empowerment
Empowerment Led Practice
Empowerment in Palliative Care: clients, caregivers, workers
Empowerment Theory Paradox
Limitations of Empowerment Theory
"Empowerment seeks to emphasize strengths and capacities and increasing personal, interpersonal and political power through engaged energetic action: refer back to this". (Morell 2003 p. 226)
"The social work profession promotes social change, problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being……"

it is defined as a core social work value:
“Empowerment is a sense that people, groups and communities “can create and take action on their own behalf to meet their physical, spiritual and psychological needs” to enhance well being and increase personal and interpersonal power (Hicks 2006, p. 381).
Tailored definition
Empowerment theory, as defined by Gutierrez (1995), is
“the process of increasing personal, interpersonal, or political power so that individuals, families, and communities can take action to improve their situations” (p. 229)
Payne (2005) states;
“Empowerment seeks to help clients to gain power of decision and action over their own lives by reducing the affect of social or personal blocks to exercise power, increasing capacity and self confidence to use power and transfer power form the group of individuals” p. 295
Related Theories:
related theories and origins:
Radical Theories and Democratic theories
Community Development
Feminist and Anti-Discriminatory Theories
Management and Conservative Political Theories
Ecological Systems Theory
Strengths-Based Theories
Psychodynamic Theory
(Payne 2005)

The roots of empowerment theory lie in a particular political economic perspective which states that problems occur in all tiers of multilevel systems and exist in groups with varying degrees of power and conflicting interest

(Gutierrez, Parsons & Cox 1998)
conscientization and critical consciousness
Praxis and critical awareness
"...each man wins back his own right to say his own word, to name the world..."
Paulo Freire....
empowerment has origins in the work of Freire:
Philosophy, Principles,
and Components
•There is a belief that the empowerment process will enhance mental, spiritual, and physical wellness as well as social justice,
Philosophy that guides empowerment theory...
fulfillment of human needs
promotion of social justice
equal distribution of resources
environmental protection
elimination of sexism, racism, agism ect
self determination
self actualization
(Gutierrez, Parsons, & Cox 1998 )
all oppression is destructive of life and should be challenged by social workers
the social worker should maintain a holistic vision in situations of oppression
people empower themselves, social workers should assist
people who share a common ground need each other to attain empowerment.
social workers should establish an “I and I” relationship with clients (partners against oppression)
social workers should encourage people to say her own word
the worker should maintain a focus on the person as a victor and not a victim
social workers should maintain a social change focus
(Lee 1998, p.27)
Underlying Assumption of Power
"Empowerment theory has moved beyond certain negative views that present power only as exploitive and scarce resource; it recognizes that social interaction can generate personal and interpersonal power".

The ability to influence the course of ones life
An expression of self worth
The capacity to control aspects of public life
Access to the mechanisms that of public decision making

Personal: feeling and perceptions regarding the ability to influence and resolve one’s own issues
Interpersonal: experiences with others that facilitate problem resolution
Environmental: societal institutions that can facilitate or thwart self-help effort.
Positive View of Power:
Power occurs on three levels:
Significant Components

Attitudes, values and beliefs
Validation through collective experience
Knowledge and skills for critical thinking and action
.......Not linear
(Gutierrez, Parson’s, Cox, 1998)
Additional Assumptions...
anti oppressive in practce
clients, communities, have the best knowledge about their world
Paricipation is key
critical conscious of structural inequalities and oppression gives people power
empowerment lies within, and promotes a positive sense of self
(Payne, 2005)
Rees’ five essential practice ideas within empowerment
Empowerment Led Practice
Historical perspective
Ecological view
Critical perspective
Fifocal Vision
In order for empowerment to happen on the three levels having Fifocal Vision helps practitioners to incorporate empowerment theory into practice by enabling the whole of oppression to be envisioned
Biography: client's experience and understanding with the world
Power: as liberating and oppressive
Political Understanding need to inform practice: constraints and opportunity
Skills:can empower
Interdependence of policy and practice: not separate entities
(Payne 2005)
Empowerment oriented Program with the elderly
Establishing groups to take more active roles in decision making that effect their environment
Transfer of knowledge and skills that are useful to self-care
Enabling elders to develop and maintain personal support networks
Helping them to understand difficulties as a part of in a broader perspective
(Gutierrez, Parson’s, Cox, 1998)
(Gutierrez, Parson’s, Cox, 1998)
Empowerment Theory in Palliative Care
(Boyle et al., 2009, p. 302 & Cagle & Kovacs, 2009, p. 19 as cited Qayyum 2005, pg 10).
can serve as both a process and an outcome in social work practice to help clients recognize and use their own strengths
Can be used with the patient but with their family members as well.
Can be an intervention tool
“Adequate access to information can help counteract some of the dis-empowering aspects of serious illness"
"Empowering a client at a time in their life when they may feel the most vulnerable and at a time when they may feel they have lost all control of their life, empowering a client may allow the client feel like they still have some control over their end-of- life care decisions"
empowerment in a palliative care setting......
empowerment in a palliative care setting.....
By educating patients and their caregivers
empowerment in a palliative care setting......

Personal Growth
Social supports
Purpose in Life
Service utilization

(Sherer 2009)
Themes of health empowerment for the elderly

establishing an engaged relationship;
providing information, knowledge and skills;
affirming self-worth;
giving reassurance that the patient is under good care
The consequences of empowerment included a trusting relationship, having confidence to carry out caregiving tasks, acceptance of patient’s death, sustained self-worth and feeling peace at heart.
empowerment in palliative care ...Caregivers
(Esther Mok, Faye Chan, Vivian Chan, Ellen Yeung 2002)

"LTC Staff to learn how palliative care is delivered in a hospice setting and to see what would and would not be transferable to their own practice"

• "Hospice PSWs feel empowerment as mentors"
LTC PSWs benefit from:
• Learning new ways to approach work
• Brainstorming to identify solutions to barriers
• Empowerment from new knowledge"
Empowerment in palliative care...the employees
Empowerment of PSW’s

the late life empowerment paradox
late life empowerment requires acceptance and affirmation of the weak, suffering and uncontrollable body.
main points :
Power and control vs. reality of the body
emphasis on increasing power and control over the circumstances of one’s life does not uniquely fit the involuntary bodily realities of old age and sickness and dying
The weak have trouble finding they’re place in society
The myth of control: ignores human limit.
building on late life empowerment theory:

consider the body in our empowerment discourse
validating the whole of the human condition, which includes experiences of weakness and powerlessness.
acknowledge that “human beings are limited
"Empowerment theory, in its confrontation with oppression, requires recognition of our full human condition. They conclude that with if age sensitive empowerment is embraced the aging and ill body will no longer be feared and rejected"
(Morell 2003, p. 227)

Empowerment is the theory behind advocacy
A tool for empowerment
Advocacy – is in part an aspect of empowerment, since it can be used to argue for resources or change the interpretation which powerful groups make of clients.
An act or process to influence change, a tool of empowerement
(Payne 2005)
Limitations of Empowerment Theory
although empowerment s at the core of social work, it is often used as a buzz word, and not really embraced as a philosophy.
“Superficial window dressing” Hardina 2005
views on power
Workers need their own empowerment, resources before clients?
Safety when people are dependent on care
Barriers in practice- worker resources

Carr, E. (2003). Rethinking empowerment theory using a feminist lens: The importance of process. Affilia, 18(1), 8-20.

Crawford Shearer, N. B. (2009). Health empowerment theory as a guide for practice. Geriatric Nursing, 30(2), 4.

Gutierrez, Lorraine M., Parsons, Ruth J., Cox, Enid Opal. (1998). Empowerment in social work practice. Pacific Groove, CA, USA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company.

Hardina, D. (2005). Ten characteristics of empowerment-oriented social service organizations. Administration in Social Work, 29(3), 23-42.

Hare, I. (2004). Defining social work for the 21st century. International Social Work, 47(3), 407-424.

Hick, S. (2006). Social work in canada (Second ed.). Toronto, ON, Canada: Thompson Educational Publishing, INc.

Lee, J. A. B. (1994). The empowerment approach to social work practice. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Mok, E., Chan, F., Chan, V., & Yeung, E. (2002). Perception of empowerment by family caregivers of patients with a terminal illness in hong kong. International Journal of Palliative Nursing, 8(3), 137.

Morell, C. (2004). Empowerment theory and long-living women. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 7(3-4), 225-236.

Payne, M. (2005). Modern soical work theory (third ed.). Chicago, Illinois: Lyceum Books, INC.


Sadan, E. (1997). Empowerment and community planning (R. Flantz Trans.). Tel-Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuhad (Hebrew).
(Gutierrez, Parson’s, Cox, 1998
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