National Alliance on Mental Illness
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A Pragmatic Approach to Psychiatric Rehabilitation: Lessons from Chicago's Thresholds Program
Edited by Jerry Dincin, Ph. D.
Review by Charles P. Cotton, C.C.S.W.; Richard Greer, and Victoria Conn, R.N. for the NAMI Literature Committee
A Pragmatic Approach to Psychiatric Rehabilitation: Lessons from Chicago's Thresholds Program provides a readable and comprehensive overview of psychiatric rehabilitation. Jerry Dincin, who edits this volume, uses his extensive experience as director of Chicago's Thresholds Program to provide practical examples of rehabilitation approaches. The contributors, also, are all people who have hands-on experience and important roles in this organization.
Dincin believes that there are three basic components in psychiatric rehabilitation: The biological basis of mental illness and the importance of medication, the rehabilitation relationship between staff and consumers, and the rehabilitation program efforts. The central importance of accepting a biological understanding of mental illness is clearly expressed. There is an excellent presentation of the staff/consumer relationship as the "glue of rehabilitation." Clear descriptions of the specific services that make up the comprehensive Thresholds program are included.
Readers will also learn about other programs for special populations, which include consumers with coexisting issues such as substance abuse, homelessness, motherhood--any populations such as the deaf and the elderly. Included in Dincin's book is an interesting presentation of research results supporting the effectiveness of the Thresholds' services and a brief discussion of emerging issues in the filed of psychiatric rehabilitation.
A Pragmatic Approach to Psychiatric Rehabilitation: Lessons from Chicago's Thresholds Program is excellent. It illustrates not only what psychiatric rehabilitation approaches can provide, but also why they are so important in the lives of those with serious brain disorders. It is a valuable resource for anyone who deals with mental illnesses--consumer, family member, or professional. And the subject is timely, given the current uncertainty surrounding the future of community mental health in our country.
A Pragmatic Approach to Psychiatric Rehabilitation: Lessons from Chicago's Thresholds Program, edited by Jerry Dincin. San Francisco: Fossey-Bass, 1995. 112pp.