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Issues » 2004/3 - Community Work »

Jan Paleček, David Kocman

Assisted activity, assisted autonomy, assisted interconnection: on the nature mental health professionals work


Article identifies three logics that organise the work of mental health professionals. Logic of assisted activity, logic of un/assisted autonomy, and logic of assisted interconnection. The article provides detailed description of these logics, and subsequently it neexplores professional destiny of mental health workers, outlines risks that are implied within their interventions, and discusses effects of those interventions. The main aim of the first logic is to activate service users. It is characteristic for the logic that it barely problematizes ways of its interventions. Contrary to this, within the second logic professional interventions are seen as problematic. Additionally, non-intervention is widely opted for as a good practice, although intervention is practically unavoidable. The third logic occurs urgently mainly when going into the community. Active assistence is not understood as better than nonintervening. It depends on present context. The „method“ of intervention is assessed with reference to different effects of being exposed to various situated forces and affects. The article suggests the destiny of mental health proffesionals is to intervene, to assist. It concludes with discussion of two main risks. A risk of reflecting ones interventions only with regard to a single therapeutic aim, and a risk of escaping the destiny into passivity in the name of service users’ autonomy.

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