Strengthening the empowerment approach in social work practice : An EPS model

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

11 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-352
Number of pages24
Journal / PublicationJournal of Social Work
Issue number3
Online published12 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


Summary: Since the mid-1980s, social work has been recognised as an empowering profession. This article proposes that two more concepts, namely, participation and a strengths perspective, must be taken into account to strengthen and advance the empowerment approach. An integrated intervention model linking empowerment, participation and a strengths perspective, called the EPS model, is developed. 
Theoretical advances: Although the concepts of participation and strengths perspective have been mentioned separately in literature about the promotion of empowerment, discussion of the integration of all three concepts is limited. The EPS model goes some way to filling this theoretical and practice gap. It affirms that these three concepts are interrelated and must be closely interlinked. The model links the three concepts by proposing that practice should be based on a strengths perspective and use participation as the method to achieve the goal of empowering service users. The EPS model serves as a framework through which social workers can oversee the application and connection of the three concepts in practice.
• Applications: As the EPS model incorporates the principles of the World Health Organization age-friendly cities initiative, it is suited to the implementation of a community project in Hong Kong aimed at enhancing the age-friendliness of the city’s transport system. This case study illustrates how the EPS model was applied and how the outcomes resulted in empowerment of the participants and realised benefits for older people in Hong Kong.

Research Area(s)

  • age-friendly cities, empowerment, EPS model, participation, Social work, social work practice, strengths perspective