Creating Promising Futures Through Social Construction
by Celia Studart Quintas
Nova Southeastern University
This study investigated what improvements can take place in the lives of people diagnosed as chronically mentally ill, based on a group therapy program at an intensive outpatient setting. Moreover, it demonstrates how a postmodern, collaborative approach to group therapy impacted the ways in which persons diagnosed with chronic mental illness recreated their identities, thereby affecting their ways of relating to others and themselves. This study also examined the social and communal components of understanding human behavior. It looked at how moving away from an intrapsychic and individualistic frame of mind can invite us, as mental health professionals, to expand our awareness and bring closer our humanity in the treatment of people who have been diagnosed with mental illnesses. I conducted a qualitative inquiry using participatory action research methodology as a way to emphasize the power and role of collaboration with this population. I elaborated on the practice of promoting genuine dialogues to consider, dignify, and respect the unique ways that treatment group members presented their ideas and behaved with one another. This project illuminated how privileging the participation of group members in the co-creaction of new knowledge for better understanding of human relations benefited all who were involved in such efforts.