Social Therapy: A Guide to Social Support Interventions for Mental Health Practitioners
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Many countries have reduced dramatically the proportion of patients in psychiatric hospitals in favour of community care. The demand for mental health care in the community keeps growing, and cannot be met by traditional, conventional services alone. Radical and innovative approaches are now being recommended, which include integrating services and professional groups, delegating responsibility to the operational level to much smaller areas, the local neighbourhood patches and developing social support systems in these patches, for example, co-ordinating and mobilising voluntary resources as an important element of community care. It is increasingly recognised that a range of non-professional therapists, practitioners in other professions and services that work in the community, can make an important and cost-effective contribution as partners in interventions for the management and treatment of mental health patients in their communities. This book provides a psychological perspective on this approach, and includes many models, methods and examples of how such innovative interventions can be stimulated and maintained. Derek Milne describes this social support approach as social therapy and shows that it is a process that formalises and builds upon the work that many professionals already undertake, which can be organised and integrated into interventions which are complementary to, and continuing on from, conventional mental health care in the community. All clinical psychologists, psychiatrists and community mental health professionals responsible for practice and policy will find this book a stimulating and practical guide to the development of an innovative approach to the challenge of expanding mental health care in the community. "This is a timely and important book, well-written and well-researched, examining and clarifying social support, and re-conceptualising mental health professionals role in developing it as social therapy . Who better to do this than Derek Milne, one of the innovators of this work in the UK for the past two decades." Richard Velleman, University of Bath and Bath Mental Health Care Trust, UK