Recovery-orientation in mental health services

PhD Thesis

Murphy, K. 2012. Recovery-orientation in mental health services. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Department of Applied Psychology
AuthorsMurphy, K.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDClinPsychol

Policy initiatives are calling for mental health services to change their ways of working to prioritising the promotion of service users’ personal recovery. This requires a major re-negotiation of working practices and the relationship between service users and staff/services and their respective social positions. Preliminary research has shown that change has been problematic. The present study aimed to explore the construction of recovery and the positioning of service users and staff during the adoption of recovery-oriented practices in a community support and recovery team. Transcripts of two rounds of focus groups with service users (n=9) and staff (n=5) held six months apart, service user care plans and Recovery Star notes were analysed using a Foucauldian Discourse Analysis. The study found that recovery was constructed as clinical/medical and personal recovery, at different times and in tension with each other. These constructions positioned service users as dependent, passive and hopeless or empowered and hopeful, and staff as helpless or facilitative. It was also apparent that a discourse of personal recovery was not available to service users. Staff oscillated between the constructions of recovery as medical and personal resulting in different subject positions and opportunities for action.
The study concluded that adopting a recovery-orientation in services should lead to service users being positioned as more influential in decisions about their treatment and modes of support from the service, and services less likely to dictate their treatment. However, this can only happen if the recovery-orientation constitutes a widely shared discourse with all its assumptions and associated practices. The problematic aspects of the medical discourse and how it can position people socially and how those positions impact on the potential for personal recovery needs to be highlighted.

Keywordsmental health services, mental health care, recovery, Foucauldian discourse analysis
Publication process dates
Deposited13 Nov 2012
SubmittedSep 2012
Output statusUnpublished
Accepted author manuscript
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