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Empowerment and Self-Determination

Below, you will find information about the concepts of empowerment and self-determination in psychiatric rehabilitation. Helpful tools and techniques are offered to assist recovering individuals to stay well, prevent relapse and relieve symptoms.



“Self-determination refers to the right of individuals to have full power over their own lives, regardless of presence of illness or disability. It encompasses concepts such as free will, civil and human rights, freedom of choice, independence, personal agency, self-direction, and individual responsibility. Self-determination in the mental health system refers to individuals’ rights to direct their own services, to make the decisions concerning their health and well-being (with help from others of their choice, if desired), to be free from involuntary treatment, and to have a meaningful leadership role in the design, delivery and evaluation of services and supports.”

[Source: The UIC National Research and Training Center on Psychiatric Disability]

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  1. University of Illinois at Chicago National Research and Training Center on Psychiatric Disability - UIC NRTC Self-Determination Series
  2. The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)
  3. Center for Self-Determination
  4. Bazelton Center
  5.  ILRU Community Living Partnership, National State-to-State Technical Assistance Center

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