Empowerment is often spoken about in relation to therapy for traumatic conditions. In traumatic states people tend to experience a sense of helplessness and a consequent sense of paralysis. Recovery is often measured in terms of the re-emergence of a sense of efficacy and the capacity to act. In therapeutic terms this involves the mobilization of self, enabling movement away from the position of passive victim.

Historically empowerment is a term that emerged in the context of social work in the USA in the 1980s before being taken up by the corporate community. It is probably used more in democratic societies which rely to a greater extent on individuals organizing themselves rather than on centralized power. In this talk the dialectic of power and empowerment is considered along with the therapeutic and personal process of empowerment.

The inner resource of creative associational thinking provides people with potential for reinvestment and reinvigoration. This is realized in the first place through communicative exchange in a trusting relationship. Developmentally one might consider the sequence, “No, I can’t”, “I think I can” and “I know I can” (with apologies to The Little Engine that Could).

Speakers: Anthony Korner
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