Essential to the development of a positive practice in mental health after-care is a precise formulation of clients' needs. Clarity about a statement of needs provides added information about anticipated obstacles to meeting those needs, both at the client and systemic levels. To accomplish this preliminary task, it becomes necessary to create what we refer to as a "problem definitional" level of theory. Problem defining theory mediates between more global theory, which establishes a larger context for understanding the broad policy issues and direct implications,* and the articulation of practice theory.

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