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Strengths-Based Models of Recovery. Priscilla Ridgway PhD, Senior Program Associate Advocates for Human Potential Mental Health Transformation: Innovations, Perspectives, and Partners for Action 5 th Annual Training Institute for Olmstead Coordinators Sept. 26-28 th , Washington, DC.

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Strengths-Based Models of Recovery

Priscilla Ridgway PhD, Senior Program Associate

Advocates for Human Potential

Mental Health Transformation:

Innovations, Perspectives, and Partners for Action

5th Annual Training Institute for Olmstead Coordinators

Sept. 26-28th, Washington, DC

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What is the Strengths Approach?

  • A way of approaching all work with mental health consumers

  • An evidence-based case management approach

  • An approach to supervision that focuses on consumer success and recovery outcomes

  • An approach to consumer-centered program evaluation that is holistic

  • And an approach to training consumers as providers

  • And a self-help workbook

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What are the Elements of a Strengths Approach to Case Management?

  • Assessment of consumer strengths, dreams and goals

  • Consumer–driven personal plans across important life/recovery domains

  • Low caseload service provision that emphasizes the importance of the helping relationship

  • Emphasis on natural supports and naturally occurring community resources (social integration)

  • Moving beyond the formal system and the consumer role into normal social environments and roles. People reclaim positive sources of identity and a place in their community.

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What does the approach do? Management?

  • The system aligns its resources to support the consumer’s dreams, goals, self-assessed needs

  • Identifies important strengths in the person (e.g. positive qualities, talents, motivation)

  • Relates to the healthy part of the person, their support network, the community, and the culture

  • Breaks down the work into bite-sized action steps

  • Specifies who will do what by when

  • Enlists the person to be active on his or her own behalf

  • Measures outcomes important to the person

  • Forms a positive platform for other EBP’s

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What resources are available? Management?

  • Consultation and training to state and local systems

  • Training of trainers

  • Group supervision model and supervisor’s tools and training

  • COMP (consumer outcomes monitoring program MIS with feedback to treatment teams)

  • EBP toolkit (Winter, 2006)

  • Pathways to Recovery: A Strengths Self-Help Workbook

    For more information contact Charlie Rapp, PhD, University of Kansas, Department of Social Welfare, Office of Mental Health Research and Training ( or visit the websites and