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Traditional protocol among the helping professions, including social work, involves identifying and labeling particular pathologies and weaknesses of clients, and then prescribing treatment to correct the functioning deficits. Nowhere has this tradition been stronger than in the mental health services for adults with severe and persistent mental illness. Too often, as a result of this pathology paradigm, the achievements and options of patients are seriously constricted, and quality of life for people suffering from mental illness is often inadequate. Unemployment and loneliness dominate many patients' lives, and most find themselves segregated from the rest of society.
The Strengths Model is the first text to focus exclusively on the alternative -- the strengths model of practice, which focuses on helping people, not as patients or clients, but as individuals. Empirical testing of this model and its results have consistently shown that it is superior to traditional approaches for serving people with mental illness. The Strengths Model presents the theory, values, and principles on which the model was founded, as well as explicit practice methods that have been developed and refined over the past fifteen years. The text includes detailed discussions of practice techniques such as engagement, strengths assessment, personal planning, and resource acquisition. Adopting a user-friendly style throughout, each chapter includes short case vignettes that demonstrate the use of these methods and first-person perspectives of clients. Offering a good balance between theory and practice, this text is ideal for students in social work, psychology, nursing, psychiatry, vocational rehabilitation, and occupational therapy, as well as for case managers and other mental health professionals and practitioners.
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