Strategies that foster empowerment

Faith B. Dickerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Empowerment is an ideology that has emerged in reaction to inadequacies in systems of care for persons with serious mental illness. The empowerment ideology is based on the principle that psychiatric consumers can gain control over their lives, reduce their reliance on professionals, and take action on their own behalf. Empowerment can be divided into three general attributes: self-determination, social engagement, and a sense of personal competence. Scales that have been developed to assess empowerment are measures of attitudes and not direct measures of behavior; further empirical definition and validation of the empowerment concept are needed. Strategies and programs that foster empowerment include the clubhouse model of rehabilitation, self-help groups, consumers who work as providers, participatory action research, and advocacy activities. Traditional therapies may also enhance individuals' empowerment. Clinicians need to be sensitive to issues of stigma and disenfranchisement and to the social context of consumers' lives. Consumer empowerment may also be fostered by emphasizing consumer strengths and competencies and by promoting consumer involvement in services planning and delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-275
Number of pages21
JournalCognitive and Behavioral Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Clinical Psychology


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