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Thomas J. Powell

Professor Emeritus of Social Work

Thomas J. Powell

Thomas Powell conducts research with mental health and substance use self-help groups. He has been an active participant in research on community support systems for consumers and family caregivers. As principal investigator for the NIMH-funded Center for Self-Help Research, he has collaborated with a number of organizations including the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Schizophrenics Anonymous, Recovery, Inc., and consumer-run agencies. He has also collaborated with members of 12-step groups. He is a Board Member of the Home of New Vision, an addiction services provider.

Internationally, he has worked with the Taiwan Alliance for the Mentally Ill. He has also made presentations to health agencies in the area of Hyderabad, India.

His areas of interest include international development, interpersonal practice and social policy.

Research Interests/Focus

Mental health, substance use disorders, self-help and mutual aid groups, 12-step programs, interpersonal practice, international development, social policy


Year Degree   School
1966 PhD Clinical Mental Health Services Smith College, Northampton, MA
1960 MSW Boston College, Boston, MA
1958 BS Social Science Boston College, Boston, MA

Powell, T. J. & Kurtz, L. F. (2015). Self-help/mutual-help groups for people with mental health and addiction problems. In H. Friedman (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Mental Health. (2nd ed.). Elsevier.

Powell, T., Garrow, E., Woodford, M., & Perron, B. (2013). Policymaking opportunities for direct practice social workers in mental health and addiction services. Advances in Social Work, 14(2), 367-378.

Powell, T. J., Sheng, M., & Wang, F. T. (2012). Raising awareness around the world: the Taiwan Alliance for the Mentally Ill (TAMI). NAME eAdvocate.

Powell, T. J., & Perron, B. E. (2010). Self-help groups and mental health/substance use agencies: The benefits of organizational exchange. Substance Use and Misuse, 45(3), 315-329.

Powell, T. J., & Perron, B. E. (2010). The contribution of self-help groups to the mental health/substance use service system. In L. D. Brown & S. Wituk (Eds.), Mental Health Self-help: Consumer and Family Initiatives. New York: Springer.

Perron, B. E., & Powell, T. J. (2008). Online groups and social work practice. In A. Gitterman & R. Salmon (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Social Work with Groups. New York: Routledge.

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