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Article   |    
Self-Help Groups for Former Patients: Relations With Mental Health Professionals
Robert E. Emerick
Psychiatric Services 1990; doi:
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Department of Sociology at the College of Arts and Letters, San Diego State University, San Diego, California 92182

1990 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Data from a national survey of 104 self-help groups for former mental patients were examined to assess actual and potential partnerships between these groups and mental health professionals. The groups' level of interaction with and attitudes toward professionals varied with the structure, affiliation, and service model of the groups. The majority were moderate "supportive" groups in which partnerships with professionals could occur but were problematic. Less common were radical "separatist" groups, with which professional partnerships were almost guaranteed to fail, and conservative "partnership" groups, with which partnerships were likely to succeed. Strong antipsychiatric attitudes throughout the mental patient movement suggest that mental health professionals who approach former-patient groups with narrow clinical conceptions of mental illness are likely to fail in establishing partnerships.

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