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Conation: A Missing Link in the Strengths Perspective

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Conation is action derived from instinct, purposeful mode of striving, volition. It is a conscious effort to carry out self-determined acts and, as such, may result in the same goal being approached by different individuals through the use of different actions. It is a critical, yet neglected aspect of the "tripartite" human mind, which is composed of cognitive, affective, and conative elements. Because most social workers are not familiar with the concept, client behavior that represents action toward a goal might not be understood or might be misunderstood. A true strengths-based approach to social work requires this understanding. The authors use case studies to describe conation and to demonstrate its applicability. They present examples of how clients' and social workers' conative ability are important to the assessment and intervention process and describe implications for research.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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