Recovery psychology

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NOTICE OF ORIGINAL WORK[edit]

This is an original work, of secondary research please feel free to discuss or participate in editing if you have an opinion in this matter. This is the development of a new course in psychology, borrowing from both, or perhaps improving upon clinical psychology and what is termed as the "Recovery Movement" in mental health. Recovery is a significant revolution in thinking for clinical psychology. This idea of adding "recovery" to the behavior science of psychology is equivalent to teaching the idea that the world is round to people whom thought it to be flat. Sadly, few have understood it. Simply put recovery differs from remission; in mental health remission refers to the absence of undesired behaviors (abnormal behaviors) this course is designed to move clinical psychology away from the remission philosophy; to seeing the person as a person, who can recover. In this context recovery can be simply put as the presence of the so-called behaviors; and in some way a return to normal; whether or not the word normal even applies. A person who recovers is taking an action they are behaving in a particular mentally healthy way; but they may have no desire to ever be labeled normal. This is an academic pursuit as well as a piece of socio-political activism. This is a very simple concept, it already exists in many various forms although it does not get officially recognized as Recovery Psychology; the basic expression of this concept is Recovery+Psychology=Recovery Psychology. For the most part Recovery Psychology is a critique of both the "recovery" movement and clinical psychology, arguing that there should be no medical model that is not a recovery model. Basically, anything done with a certain set of behaviors and mental processes is a psychology, those who work in a warehouse can be said to applying warehouse psychology, those who play sports use sports psychology, and those who recover are practicing or using recovery psychology. To the layperson who sees another individual acting in a peculiar way, it might be common for the layperson to say "that person needs help," recovery would be the evidence that help has been given and recieved. Which would be the failures in the past research oriented Abnormal psychology and the applied Clinical psychology that these do not address the help or recovery. The ideals of the recovery paradigm mirror those one can find in the academic study of social work, there is of course a problem with saying that this is true; in that a person who is mentally ill would be said to have a psychological disorder as in psychology not a social work disorder as in social work. To say a persons disorder is in remission is not the same as saying the person is living a satisfactory life that would have been lived with out a disorder, or that the person has regained the ability to live life. In the field of psychiatry the term mental disorder, psychiatric condition or mental illness is used, in rehabilitation the term disability is used, and in psychology the term psychological disorder is used to describe the diagnoses which these prespective sciences study. Since recovery psychology addresses all of these, it is important to note from which prespective the various writers and speakers are coming from to understand their influence on recovery psychology. "Recovery" is a concept that is faced with great skepticism with in the academic and scientific community; however it is not simply going to go away if ignored.

"It is important that psychology embrace the recovery model and participate fully in the transformation of the mental health system. I would even go so far as to suggest that this is an initiative that psychology is uniquely qualified to lead."-Dr. Ronald F. Levant APA Monitor October 2005 2005 President of the American Psychological Association

To the student studying Clinical Psychology[edit]

It is suggested that, whatever your beliefs about "recovery psychology", you proceed with your studies in clinical psychology and strive to reach your highest potential. With whatever title you earn, work in the profession 'treating' persons with psychological disorders. Even if you eventually reject the concept of recovery and conclude that it never happens, you never lose what you have learned and the real-life experience you have gained.

 Perhaps being an effective counselor clinical psychologist is not be your aspiration. If so, you can ignore this course and/or the recovery concept altogether.  If helping others is not your intent than you might as well abandon the social sciences altogether!  I recommend reading P.C. M.D. How Political Correctness is Corrupting Medicine, by Sally Satel, who argues that the "recovery model" is the worst thing to ever happen to mental health. Satel cites anti-psychiatry groups as being a threat to the well being of persons who have been diagnosed with mental health problems.   Oddly, Sally Satel writes for the National Review, a conservative publication.  If you consider E. Fuller Torrey's 1988 book Nowhere To Go: The Tragic Odyssey of the Homeless Mentally Ill there is a section on the Right-Wing Anti-Mental Health Lobby, where he describes groups like the John Birch Society as being the source of anti-psychiatry propaganda.  The question here is: if we are to believe that Recovery is about anti-psychiatry, then is it liberal anti-psychiatry or conservative anti-psychiatry?  The bigger question being: Are those who speak of recovery from mental illness in harmony with those who speak of recovery from psychiatry? An intensive reading of anti-psychiatry literature will yield that even the most ardent believer of anti-psychiatry who disbelieves in mental illness will refer to some other person as being "crazy" or "insane" in some manner or to some extent.  Since the anti-psychiatry belief affirms that there is no such thing as a "mental illness" the consequent fact has to be that no person can be "mentally ill." This is an important fact we will have to consider when we read further about "anti-psychiatry" and the influence on identity politics of recovery.

Exclusion of the Freud[edit]

Note: There is no mention of psychoanalysis in recovery psychology, since such is mentioned in a larger portion of psychological educational literature, if it appears in the general introductory course as a prerequisite to other courses, there is no need for it to be discussed twice. It is not conducive to the concept of recovery from psychological disorders. Yet, psychoanalysis and Freudian themes are persistently reoccurring in repetitious appearances in psychiatric nursing, and introductory psychiatry textbooks, not to mention clinical psychology, abnormal psychology, sociology, social work, social psychology, administration of justice, developmental psychology, philosophy and most all other academic studies. There may be some references to psychoanalysis and such in the links of this course such as in the case of the history of a particular aspect of the overall recovery movement but there is no intention of this course discussing the psychoanalytical school of thought beyond the concepts of defense mechanisms which are in now referred to as coping skills that allow resilience in terms of adaptation and recovery. Although the talking cure may be present in some notions of counseling, some may feel that the idea of listening to what the client has to say dates back to Freud. It is noted that all psychology courses do cover the history of the "Freud," but where is the history of recovery (or as we might say the history of clinical psychology and psychiatry ever helping anyone)? A recovery psychology would be more concerned with the history of the consumer movement than the useless history of non-scientific or fruitless works, which are written by dead guys, is not psychology a science of living persons as well.

Recovery in Mental Health: A Brief Introduction[edit]

From June 2002 to April 2003 the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health met to discuss how to better treat psychological disorders. It was determined that all mental health services needed to be recovery oriented and that there needed to be a national education campaign on mental health recovery. These education intitiatives have been represented in the form of pamphlets, brochures and public-service announcements, which can be easily ignored by the general public. Following this line of logic a person could obtain a Doctorate in mental health recovery by merely throwing away junk mail and watching television. (See Mental Health Commision) It is the work of professional psychologists who themselves have recovered from psychological disorders where the largest body of material on recovery has come from. One can of course google or use other search engines to find SAMHSA intititives or US Department of Health and Human Services most notably the Campaign for Mental Health Recovery (CMHR) (See Also The Campaign for Mental Health Reform,BACCHUS Network, peer educator, and Active Minds on Campus) Although it may be hard to determine the content online of these intitiatives directly addressing the phenomena of recovery or giving it equal discussion to pathology of psychological disorders. See Review of Recovery Literature In this article "recovery" as a word is not always liked, as some might say that they had no before expierince. Dan Fisher describes recovery using a paraphrased line from the Crosby, Stills and Nash song Teach the Childern Well that 'Recovery is a process in which we become ourselves'. The arguement from the recovery psychology prespective would be that a person with a psychological disorder that becomes themself, has recovered the life or person they were meant to be. With this arguement, is the idea that the neccessary recovery is a much needed improvement upon clinical psychology. That there are mental processes and behaviors not being studied in a psychological context with regards to recovery and that failing to study these represent that failure of clinical psychology.


The recovery concept is an idea proposed by an identity politic of consumers, survivors and ex-patients from psychiatric institutions. They have proposed this idea in response as victims of civil rights abuses. As survivors of psychiatric assualt their testimonials have influenced mental health and behavioral health policies internationally. This have been termed as the recovery movement. It has developed from a number of other movements that happened simultaneously, such as the anti-psychiatry movement, the deinstitutionalization movement and the mental liberation movement. Primarily in the United States this movement has learned from the civil rights movement in the 1960's. However, the recovery movement is not just an American phenomena, it is in Austraila, Canada, England, New Zealand and many other nations throughout the world.

Clinical Psychology[edit]

Clinical psychology has always approached mental illness from the prespective of the medical model of illness. This has led to the view of a person with an illness to be as a set of symptoms not as a person. The recovery model takes in to person-centered values, in its view of the person as a human being. The concept of recovery, oddly enough not being fully accepted is in actuality the fulfillment of any practice of clinical psychology or psychiatry. In the October 2005 issue of the APA Monitor on page 5 of Volume 36, No. 9 the American Psychological Association (APA) has acknowledged that there is a "recovery model" in the terms of service provision there seems to be a lack of psychology studying the phenomena that is recovery. Although one source does in fact discuss the process theoretically in the terms of the Kübler-Ross model, which gives a foundation of psychological theorieum to use in studying this process, to simply say that recovery is a process, then to proceed in to speaking of rehabilitation services and rehabilitation outcomes is simply an error is known in literature as a smear fallacy {check name of fallacy} William Anthony in 1991 wrote Basic Assumptions of Recovery Oriented Mental Health System and listed as the very first assumption is that people can or sometimes do recover from psychological disorders with absolutely no professional intervention (see above mentioned smear fallacy, not that the fallacy is intentional it may be a part of the profession itself). Every one who is proponent of recovery seems to discuss what it is or like to over-speculate, over-fathom or over-intellectualize what recovery is. Hippocrates is seen by the western civilization as the father of all medicine, when one reads the Hippocratic Oath does it not just scream out the recovery concept? What other intention for a helping practice could their ever have been? Recovery is nothing new, it has always been around in the past the mental health system has hid those who recovered-Pricilla Ridgway. It seems to be a common expression that "that person needs help" is used when a psychiatriclly niave person is talking about a person whose behavior is perceived to be different, deviant or abnormal. However, the taking of psychopharmacueticals and recieving disability funds from social security falls short of being true "help." As stated above the concept of "recovery" would seem to be implied by the psychiatrically niave person when they are stating that a person needs "help." There is an obvious connection between psychology and psychiatry although some psychiatrists might deny it. In E. Fuller Torrey's 1988 book Nowhere To Go: The Tragic Odyssey of the Homeless Mentally Ill a diagram on page 164 lists the number of trained mental health professionals in 1945 to be 3,000 psychiatrists, 4,200 psychologists and 2,000 psychiatric social workers, where as in 1985 the number of psychiatrists were 32,255, 44,580 psychologists in 1983 and 54,883 psychiatric social workers. Where the number of psychologists and psychiatrists increased 10 fold as a result of the deinstitutionalization movement. The psychiatric social work profession had increased by 27 fold. The recovery movement which is part of psychiatry and psychology, is much taken up by Social Work and related, as stated numerous times. However it fails to fully be penetrated in to psychology and psychiatry to be a helping profession. These figures although rather old do demonstrate a dramatic increase in the mental health profession. A forty year increase is highly noticeable, while from 1985 until 2008 is a twenty-three year period which many psychiatric social workers can attest to the turn over and burn out of professionals in the mental health profession; This can be related to the pay level discrepancy of roles between the different mental health professions, socially attributed status-prestige of the professions, emotional toll of the profession, legitimate authority granted to higher paid positions, and the burden of work place integrity and the lower paid status.

See also[edit]

Syllabus on Recovery in a Psychological context[edit]

The following will suggest and describe all the available resources necessary to learn about the recovery concept, with an explanation on how such materials relate to psychology. Then will do the same in referring from Clinical Psychology, Sociology, Social Psychology, alternative or radical psychology and other such disciplines. This is based on the philosophical arguement on the concept of transforming the mental health system in to a recovery based mental health system [1][2][3] [4] is a noble concept, but why not address the mental health at it's roots (Clinical Psychology courses which are taught in the colleges? The fact remains that there is a very big connection between psychology and the mental health system, for one to fail to acknowledge this, would be obviously a serious case of denial). One could use search engines to research Mental Health Recovery using keywords related to recovery, although a few mentions in APA Journals here and there, which are vague and only speak of service models, service delivery and corporate policies there would be little in the psychological context. Psychiatric rehabilitation or Psychosocial rehabilitation may discuss recovery in a service delivery, social work or such like context and again not in a psychological context, although prehaps from a humanistic psychology approach. It is still hard to find information published on recovery in the clinical context, it seems as though people need to forsake one to even discuss the other, as if to say that the practices are not complimentary. Many psychologists that do recognize mental health recovery still do not see the full body of discussion on "recovery" outweighing or triumpithing that body of discussion on "pathology." The idea of clinical psychology being seperate from a/the concept of recovery is a fallacy known Reductio ad absurdum. The mistake in the reasoning of clinical psychology is it's purpose, if it is not 100% about recovery. The idea that people scramble to come up with a definition of recovery is also strange since "clinics" have no right to exist without recovery, nor do doctors or the medical establishment...this is prehaps why there is such a strong anti-psychiatric sentiment in the modern era.

Basic Logical Premises of Recovery psychology[edit]

  1. There is a concept that is called recovery.
  2. There is a concept of remission that is clinical or medical.
  3. Remission is not a satisfactory condition of treatment for or the healing from psychological disorders.
  4. The condition of recovery is more humane than the condition of remission.
  5. Recovery is self-directed activity of a person with a psychological disorder.
  6. These actions can be quantified and measured empirically as objectivity as the symptomolgy.
  7. Recovery psychology would be what clinical psychology fails to represent, but by the nature of its description (clinical psychology) it is intended for.

Tools For Multi-Media Resource Study[edit]

The links below are resources used in the study of recovery and psychology as seperate subjects, which various aspects of the two can be referenced by hyperlink to demonstrate the union of the two concepts. Be aware that English Wiki pages are written by various writers, although Recovery psychology was started by an American, and it may appear to have an American bias. Information is valuable and mostly universal, but you are advised that the information linked here to other wiki projects throughout the internet may be written in the UK, Canada, Austrailia, or for that matter any where in the world. Each writer would be writing from their own prespective, in terms of culture, nationality, and/or ethnicity and as it may be the New Zealand Psychological Association for an example may not see things the way that the American Psychological Association sees things, therefore the response to the system may be different there than in the United States. It is very possible that the names of diagnoses may also differ from region to region, in fact it is very likely that alot of terminologies may be different. TIP: use the new vocabulary words, terms or phrases that you learn from reading this course in search engines as your search key words.

Suggested Sequence of Lessons[edit]

Suggested Reading On and Off line[edit]

And More Online[edit]

Quotes that summarizes Recovery Psychology from the Recovery Movement[edit]

"Recovery is for everyone"-Daniel Fisher

  • In the recovery literature there is the statement that, it is not just a person with mental illness who recovers, but family members of a person in recovery, the mental health care system and society as well that recovers.
  • The question that arises here is: How does this impact academic instructors and college students who study the subjects more commonly known as Abnormal Psychology and Clinical Psychology?
  • What about the need for Mental Health? How many millions of self-help books are sold every year in book stores? Does reading self-help books mean a person has issues? Is having issues different from having a mental illness? Daniel Fisher spoke at a conference once that persons diagnosed with mental illness were like the canary in a coal mine. He made this analogy to the status of human relationships in modern society. That the first warning sign is often when the canary gets sick, that people in society need to acknowledge the unhealthy attitudes in the environment. Is this what he meant by recovery is for everyone?
  • See Interview with Pat Deegan where she discusses what others have termed as "pathologically normal" and about trying to be normal when truly nobody is capable of living up to such an expectation.