A Working Life for People with Severe Mental Illness

By Deborah R. Becker; Robert E. Drake | Go to book overview

5
Research on IPS

Supported employment has been implemented for people with severe mental illness in different ways, but research indicates that several specific principles of practice are associated with better employment outcomes (Bond, 1998; Bond, Becker, et al., 2001; Cook & Razzano, 2000). IPS combines the empirically validated principles that are consistent across various approaches. Furthermore, the details of the IPS approach are intended to evolve rather than remain static as more information becomes available. Of course, any model must be held constant temporarily so that it can be clearly defined, implemented, measured for fidelity, and studied in relation to outcomes. But the process of testing, reassessment, feedback, and revision is continuous. Thus far, the iterative process of refinement has not in any sense deterred implementation, because research findings have been relatively consistent and changes have accumulated slowly.

Within the IPS model, employment specialists join the treatment teams in a mental health program and collaborate directly with the clinicians to ensure that employment is part of the treatment plan for every client who is interested in working (Becker & Drake, 1994). (In some programs, the same specialists also can help clients who have related instrumental goals, such as supported education, but the emphasis is on competitive employment because that is a primary goal of most mental health clients and the area of expertise of employment specialists.) IPS employment specialists on each team provide the full range of supported employment services to a discrete caseload of clients. As described and illustrated in later chapters, IPS specialists emphasize integration of vocational and clinical services, minimal preliminary assessments, rapid job searches, competitive work settings, matching clients with jobs of their choice, and ongoing supports.

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