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Empowerment is a subjective emotion that promotes the right to self-determination, self-esteem and self-esteem as well as influencing social status.

To experience oneself in a difficult situation where one feels powerless. Feeling powerless and believing that you can do nothing puts people in a certain position. One of the preconditions for recovery is to restore that belief in one's own ability to deal with problems in cooperation with others.

Empowerment is about gaining the power to be able to influence the services we receive and also to gain inner power to be able to say and know what we want. The goal is to learn how to make decisions about your own life. The concept is related to democracy and the individual's power over their own lives and environment, and individuals are encouraged to find their own strength so that they can work for their well-being and maximize their quality of life.

Empowerment is about changing their self-awareness, or the self-awareness of those who need some form of assistance, that they see themselves as individuals who have the right to respond to service providers, the organization and management of the service, the assistance they receive and the life they choose to live. This also effects the fact that the work of Grófin takes place on a peer basis, we help each other find ourselves.

Women Holding Hands
Why empowerment?
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Increased power over one's own life

According to the ideology of Empowerment, there must always be hope/belief in recovery, if you do not believe it, it will not happen.

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Increased independence

The concept of empowerment is linked to quality of life and human rights. We need to create situations/environments that support empowerment.

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Participation in society

Empowerment is a subjective emotion that, through connection, promotes the right to self-determination, self-esteem and confidence, as well as influencing social status.

Judi Chamberlin (b. 1944 - d. 2010), the originator of the empowerment movement, was a progressive pioneer in her field and based her ideology on her own experience of the mental health system, as its user. She was of the opinion that the medical model, which is still the prevailing approach to mental health, simply did not fit the needs of all those who need help to cope with mental challenges. She placed great emphasis on respect and control over her own life.

Judi is the co-founder of the Ruby Rogers Advocacy and Drop-In Center and authored the book On Our Own: Patient controlled alternatives to the mental health system as well as writing numerous articles on the movement, self-help, and user rights.


Judi Chamberlin

There are a few points to keep in mind during the empowerment process

Empowerment takes place through:

• Cooperation between individuals in the same situation, e.g. individuals with mental illness

• Cooperation between professionals and individuals

• Internal self-knowledge

• Professionals and their knowledge

Empowerment takes place in communication:

• Personal support

• Close communication

• Agility

• Equality

• Respect

15 points of empowerment

1. Power to make decisions: no one can gain independence if they are not given the opportunity to make important decisions about their own life! Many professionals often assume that users are incapable of making the "right" decisions. Working together on an equal footing gives many people the opportunity to make these decisions themselves.

2. Easy access to information and resources: the word empowerment means having the power to make decisions yourself, having access to information and resources and having to think critically so that you can influence your own life and promote a positive self-image as well as overcoming prejudice.

3. Options: to be allowed to choose. It is often considered that it is enough to be able to use only one remedy or to be able to choose between two options, but that is simply not always the case. It's like being able to choose between bowling or swimming, which are only good options if I find either to be fun. If I do not like either, these are rather poor choices.

4. Promoting determination: people who have not been diagnosed with a mental illness are often praised for this trait, but users who show determination are often branded as controlling and difficult and even lose this trait. Empowerment happens by strengthening it.

5. Raise expectations of your own influence: to be hopeful! Hope is an essential part of our definition. A person who is hopeful and believes in the possibility of change and progress in the future is more likely to succeed.

6. Think critically: to get out of the rut, to see things differently.

7. Learn about anger and express it: professionals often think that users who express anger are "losing control" or are "out of control." This is true even when anger is justified and would be considered justified if an "ordinary" person expressed it. Anger can be useful if one learns to recognize it when it is right and learns to express it, which is also somewhat related to determination.


8. Experience yourself as part of a group: to feel that you are not alone. Team building is a very important part of empowerment.

9. Know their rights : understand that people have rights.

10. Influence changes that take place in one's own life: empowerment is more than emotion, we see it as a precursor to action. When a person initiates a change, their self-confidence increases and this results in further and more influential changes.

11. Acquire new abilities: to acquire new abilities that the individual considers important. You have to choose which skills are worth acquiring and which are important for you.

12. Change others' perceptions of your own ability and ability to act: Society often decides that individuals facing mental challenges are disqualified. But when an individual becomes better able to take control of their own life, they show how similar they are to "ordinary people" in principle.

13. Coming out of the closet: a concept we have borrowed from the pride movement. People who have a reduced social status but can hide it, often choose to do so. On the one hand, this can lead to poor self-confidence and fear, but those who are late in this phase can unveil their circumstances and thus lose self-confidence.

14. Promoting Sustainable Development and Change: Empowerment is not an end in itself, but a journey.

15. Promoting a positive self-image and overcoming prejudice: as the individual's empowerment increases, they begin to feel more self-assured and more confident in their own abilities.


Excerpt from the article "A Working Definition of Empowerment" by Judi Chamberlin.
translated by Björg Torfadóttir, members of Hugarafl

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