Is Social Work's Door Open to People Recovering from Psychiatric Disabilities?

Layne K. Stromwall

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    30 Scopus citations


    Social workers are the major providers of mental health services in the United States, yet the profession has been reluctant to include recovering consumers in its ranks. This article contrasts social work's historic focus on the deficits believed to be inherent in colleagues' history of psychiatric disorder with an empowerment perspective. The article describes perceived risks and benefits to clients when the social worker has a history of a psychiatric disorder. It reviews recovering consumers' successful roles as paraprofessionals in mental health services delivery as a demonstration of the strengths consumers bring to the mental health field. Finally, it identifies barriers to social work employment faced by the social worker who has a history of a psychiatric disability.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)75-83
    Number of pages9
    JournalSocial work
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Jan 2002


    • Empowerment
    • NASWCode of Ethics
    • Psychiatric disability
    • Social work profession

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science


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