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An Introduction to Psychiatric Rehabilitation

Edited by the Publications Committee of IAPSRS.

Readings in Psychiatric Rehabilitation, edited by William Anthony and LeRoy Spaniol.

Review by Helen Hill for the NAMI Literature Committee

Psychiatric rehabilitation has become such a popular buzz word--or buzz phrase--in the 1990s that its meaning has become diffused. An Introduction to Psychiatric Rehabilitation, edited and published by the International Association of Psychosocial Rehabilitation Services (IAPSRS), clarifies the meaning.

The book has seven sections, each with a collection of essays written by both professionals and consumers. The sections are: "What Is Psychiatric Rehabilitation?"; "Experiencing Psychiatric Rehabilitation"; "Implementing Psychiatric Rehabilitation Programs"; "Training Psychiatric Rehabilitation Staff"; "Managing Psychiatric Rehabilitation Programs"; "Evaluating Psychiatric Rehabilitation Programs"; and "Psychiatric Rehabilitation Outcomes." The usefulness for professionals is obvious. Anyone working today with people recovering from a brain disorder needs to understand the principles underlying psychiatric rehabilitation: the importance of encouraging independence rather than mere compliance and the importance of work-with-support as an essential part of the recovery process.

But parents and consumers need to understand these principles, too. Parents, other family members, and consumers who want to advocate for better mental health services need to be well informed about the possibilities. Consumers can gain understanding by sharing the experiences of others who have written about themselves.

Joan Nobiling's introduction to the chapter "Experiencing Psychiatric Rehabilitation" makes a point that fits the whole book. "Psychiatric rehabilitation," she says, "is not something that is delivered to an individual, but rather it is accomplished through the individual's active participation in a process that includes choice and decision-making." Knowing what the options are is essential if we are to help our family members or ourselves lead better lives. This book goes a long way toward showing how that is possible.

Readings in Psychiatric Rehabilitation, edited by William Anthony and LeRoy Spaniol, covers much of the same ground as An Introduction to Psychiatric Rehabilitation. Both books draw heavily from the Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, which is published jointly by the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation and IAPSRS. The chief difference is that, though not inaccessible to the general reader, Readings is designed primarily for the social work student or professional who is interested in rehabilitation. Essays are grouped in eight chapters: "An Introduction to the Field"; "Introduction to Research"; "Philosophy, Process, and Technology"; "Implementing the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Approach"; " "Psychiatric Rehabilitation Personnel"; "Psychiatric Rehabilitation Programs"; "Psychiatric Rehabilitation Systems"; and a final chapter called "Changing Toward the Future," which includes two essays on managed health care and an essay by Anthony, "The Guiding Vision of the Mental Health Service System in the 1990s." Each chapter includes its own rather full list of bibliographical references for further readings.

This is a book to recommend--particularly to professionals--but IAPSRS's book, An Introduction to Psychiatric Rehabilitation, is of broader interest for the general reader.

An Introduction to Psychiatric Rehabilitation, edited by the Publications Committee of IAPSRS. Columbia, MD, 1994. 567pp.

Readings in Psychiatric Rehabilitation, edited by William Anthony and LeRoy Spaniol. Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Boston University, 1994. 538p. This book can be ordered from your local bookstore.

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