Empowerment Theory Presentation Handout

Empowerment Theory

 This is the header section that I utilized for for the presentation I completed for one of my staff meeting training I put together called This is the header section that I utilized for for the presentation I completed for one of my staff meeting training I put together called “Are You Pondering What I’m Pondering? A Plan to Take Over the World: How to Affect Environmental Change” I created this in Adobe Illustrator and this header section can be found in the PowerPoint Slide Background. The font for the Acme Labs portion is called White Outlines on Font Space. "We Can Do It!" “We Can Do It!” poster for Westinghouse, closely associated with Rosie the Riveter, although not a depiction of the cultural icon itself. Pictured Geraldine Doyle (1924-2010), at age 17. This image was downloaded from Wikipedia.

empowerment [ɪmˈpaʊəmənt] noun

  1. the giving or delegation of power or authority; authorization
  2. the giving of an ability; enablement or permission
  3. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) (in South Africa) a policy of providing special opportunities in employment, training, etc. for Blacks and others disadvantaged under apartheid

– Collins English Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged


  1. All oppression should be fought
  2. A systematic understanding of oppression must be maintained
  3. People are capable of empowering themselves
  4. People need to connect with others to work on empowerment
  5. Clinician and the client share power
  6. Client centered with the client being encouraged to tell own story & develop own goals
  7. Client as "victor not victim"
  8. Social change is goal, not symptom reduction.
  9. Clinicians must examine how their practice may disempower clients
  10. Clinician may need to be socially and politically active to address meso and macro needs [local, national, global issues]


Robbins, S. C. Chatterjee, P., Canda, E. R.(2006) Contemporary human behavior theory: a critical perspective for social work. University of Michigan: Pearson/A and B


Step 1: Self-efficacy

The first step in empowerment theory is the empowering of the client. This means helping them to gain self-efficacy. This can be done by the following:

  • Skill building
  • Gaining self-awareness
  • Learning to navigate systems


Step 2: Critical Consciousness

The second step in empowerment theory is connecting the client to the “bigger picture.” This means helping them to gain a critical consciousness about oppression and obstacles. Some examples of this are as follows:

  • Identifying barriers
  • Defining power
  • Connecting the client to a group
  • Letting them know they aren't alone


Step 3: Social Change

The third step in empowerment theory is creating larger social change. The following are some possible ideas:

  • Creating policy and or legal changes
  • Having the client act as a mentor
  • Connecting to another activity that allows them to make social change