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Mutual Support and Mental Health

Mental health services tend to view and treat mental health problems in an individual-centric way. This book argues for an alternative route to recovery that is cognizant of our social nature, needs and difficulties. Focusing on the therapeutic value of meeting others with similar experiences, it explores how mutual support can help ease the distress of mental health problems and foster emotional and psychological wellbeing. The author provides an overview of the theory, history and processes of mutual support, including how it can be understood from a developmental perspective and its importance in normalising and validating experiences and lessening feelings of isolation. She provides in-depth summaries of various approaches that harness mutual support including group therapy and therapeutic communities. Clear guidance is given on how to access, set up and facilitate mutual support groups, along with detailed information on services and organisations that utilise mutual support in the UK and beyond. This book will provide both mental health professionals and those experiencing mental health difficulties with essential information on mutual support, and the positive impact it can have on people's lives.
Product Details

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements. Introduction. Part I. Processes and Functions of Mutual Support. 1. What is Mutual Support? 2. Mutual Support from a Developmental Perspective. 3. Mental Health Difficulties and Social Functioning. Part II. Mutual Support and Mental Health Provision. 4. Formal and Informal Help. 5. Group Therapy. 6. Therapeutic Communities. Part III. Applications of Mutual Support. 7. Does Mutual Support Work? Exploring the evidence base. 8. Putting Theory into Practice: How to Make a Difference. 9. The Future of Mutual Support. Further Information. References. Subject Index. Author Index.

About the Author

Maddy Loat is a clinical psychologist currently working in Acute Inpatient Services within Camden & Islington Mental Health Foundation Trust. Prior to training as a psychologist at University College London, she worked in a number of therapeutic communities and developed an interest in how social processes, especially those of mutual support, affect mental health.


'I hope that professionals and persons experiencing mental health problems take heed, and read Loat's admirable book. -- European Journal of Social Work (...)this book is a vital read as a reminder to all mental health professionals of the importance of mutual support for on-going mental health, especially those who have responsibility for commissioning services. -- Professional Social Work Overall I found this book well presented, an enjoyable and an easy read... In closing I would recommend this book for anyone with an interest in self-help groups, looking for a different approach than the medical model in mental health and especially for people who want practical advice in setting up a group. -- Dramatherapy I am happy to recommend this little book to anyone interested in accessing or establishing any form of mutual support. -- Journal of Mental Health

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