An Anti-Stigma Approach to Working with Persons with Severe Mental Disability: Seeking Real Change Through Narrative Change

D Kondrat, Barbra Teater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Self-stigma is the process whereby individuals expect to be discriminated against by society and in turn hold prejudicial beliefs about themselves. Self-stigma is particularly difficult for persons with severe mental disability (SMD) as they often experience stigma from the public and, thus, allow the public stigma to foster self-stigma. Public and self-stigma are theorised to be comprised of stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination. This paper proposes that in order to decrease self-stigma among persons with SMD, social work and mental health practitioners need to intervene on an individual and/or societal level to dispute stereotypes, prevent prejudices and combat discrimination. We propose an individual-level, anti-stigma approach utilising social constructivism, adaptive systems theory and narrative therapy to empower persons with SMD to reconstruct their sense of self that is free from stigma.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-47
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Social Work Practice
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Keywords

  • adaptive systems theory
  • empowerment
  • narrative therapy
  • social constructivism
  • self-stigma
  • severe mental disability

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