Psychological Recovery or recovery model or the recovery approach to mental disorder or substance dependence emphasizes and supports a person’s potential for recovery. Recovery is generally seen in this approach as a personal journey rather than a set outcome, and one that may involve developing hope, a secure base and sense of self, supportive relationships, empowerment, social inclusion, coping skills, and meaning.
“The concept of recovery can be traced back as far as 1830, when John Perceval, son of one of England’s prime ministers, wrote of his personal recovery from the psychosis that he experienced from 1830 until 1832, a recovery that he obtained despite the “treatment” he received from the “lunatic” doctors who attended him. His remarkable experiences are chronicled in the book Perceval’s Narrative.”
William Anthony, Director of the Boston Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation developed a quaint cornerstone definition of mental health recovery in 1993. “Recovery is a deeply personal, unique process of changing one’s attitudes, values, feelings, goals, skills and/or roles. It is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful, and contributing life even with limitations caused by the illness. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of mental illness.”
Originating from the 12-Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous, the use of the concept in mental health emerged as deinstitutionalization resulted in more individuals living in the community. It gained impetus as a social movement due to a perceived failure by services or wider society to adequately support social inclusion, and by studies demonstrating that many people do recover. A recovery approach has now been explicitly adopted as the guiding principle of the mental health or substance dependency policies of a number of countries and states. In many cases practical steps are being taken to base services on a recovery model, although a range of obstacles, concerns and criticisms have been raised both by service providers and by recipients of services. A number of standardized measures have been developed to assess aspects of recovery, although there is some variation between professionalized models and those originating in the psychiatric survivors movement.