Psychiatric Quarterly [psaq] PH084-psaq-363102 June 21, 2002 13:47 Style ﬁle version Nov. 19th, 1999
Psychiatric Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 3, Fall 2002 (
EMPOWERMENT AND SERIOUS MENTAL
ILLNESS: TREATMENT PARTNERSHIPS
AND COMMUNITY OPPORTUNITIES
Patrick W. Corrigan, Psy.D.
The health goals of persons with serious mental illness are greatly improved
when their personal power is advanced. Two targets of empowerment are
discussed in this paper: treatment partnerships and community opportunities.
Strategies that enhance treatment partnerships include provider endorsement
of recovery rather than promoting an approach that suggests poor prognoses,
treatment plans that are collaborative rather than unilateral decision making
that is perceived as coercive, and treatment services provided in the person’s
community rather than geographically or psychological distant institutions.
Approaches that focus on the person and treatment relationship are not
sufﬁcient however. Stigma and discrimination are signiﬁcant barriers to the
kind of community opportunities that are necessary to help people attain life
goals. Communities that substitute stigmatizing attitudes and discriminatory
behaviors with realistic views of mental illness are more likely to provide
the kind of reasonable accommodations that some people need for work and
independent living opportunities.
KEY WORDS: consumer empowerment; stigma; serious mental illness.
Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, University of Chicago.
Address correspondence to Patrick Corrigan, University of Chicago Center for
Psychiatric Rehabilitation, 7230 Arbor Drive, Tinley Park, IL 60477; e-mail: p-corrigan@
2002 Human Sciences Press, Inc.