Recovery psychology/Quality of Life

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“Recovery does not refer to an end product or result. It does not mean that one is ‘cured’ nor does it mean that one is simply stabilized or maintained in the community. Recovery often involves a transformation of the self wherein one both accepts one’s limitation and discovers a new world of possibility…recovery is a…way of life. It is an attitude and way of approaching the day’s challenges.”—Patricia Deegan from Conspiracy of Hope

Humanistic Psychology[edit | edit source]

Recovery versus Self-Actualization?

The philosophy of Humanism has had it's influence on psychology; most prevalent in the development of Humanistic psychology which explores the human experience, as opposed to behaviorism that explores behavior and cognitivism which explores cognition. Humanistic Psychologyis a philosophical perspective of psychology based in humanistic ideology which affirms the inherent value and dignity of human beings. Such thinking in psychology as been expressed in the work of Rollo Mayand Carl Rogers. Abraham Maslow theory that each human being strives to develop upward through a hierarchy of needs is useful in describing recovery. Each need corresponds to basic type of goal. At the physiological level of needs ones goal is concerned with getting out of the cold to some heat, or out the heat in to cold, the ability to breath oxygen, drink water or eat or even get sleep. At this level of need goals are directed at basic survival and not quality of life. The next level higher in this progression would be safety needs; goals here are focused on avoiding danger. These two lower levels of needs basic survival and safety may be greatly the concern of the homeless with psychological disorders. At the next higher progression would be the need for love and belonging, this need is addressed as a goal after basic survival and safety needs are met. The next step of higher needs would be the need for esteem or self-worth, this would be a bit difficult for persons with low self-esteem and other conditions associated with psychological disorders. Rising upward this hierarchy implies that the lower needs have been sufficiently satisfied or managed. The highest on the hierarchy of needs is self-actualization, which in terms of person recovering from a psychological disorder; may be the recovery as a thing in itself. Recovery, defense mechanisms, coping skills and adaptation may be occurring at all levels of this hierarchy; while disputably the "recovery does not mean destination" doctrine would disagree that persons with psychological disorders ever self-actualize. Todays trend in Behavioral/Mental health has been to be more Client-centered or Person-centered taking a more Person-Centered Psychological approach. From out of this more person-centered humanistic idealism came Positive psychology.Positive psychology often discusses the "Good Life" as it is called. The "Good Life" almost sounds like the "Finer things in life" that an actor portraying a snobby person in a movie or television show might say. By all means a person in recovery wants to achieve having a "good life" or "the finer things in life," and for some who are in recovery a positive attitude or positive way of thinking can be beneficial. This is where positive psychology differs from recovery, the study of happiness would be positive psychology where as recovery psychology must study the process of change from a state of anguish, misery or unhappiness (psychological disorder) to the state of happiness; with out the "got to keep up the Joneses" or "Good Life" ad nauseam. It requires less than dim awareness or even for a person of low intelligence quotient to perceive this "Good Life" talk to be about the favored, darlings, the Jet Set, or the more fortunate persons. Positive psychology should be considered stigmatizing and prejudicial, lacking cultural competency for persons with psychological disorders, when it is applied to persons in recovery. Members of the "recovery movement" who are psychologists such as Pat Deegan and Daniel Fisher have had their work published in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology

Quality of Life[edit | edit source]

The World Health Organization has conducted research in to Quality of Life. This concept has been applied in the subjects of sociology, criminology, and economics. It differs from the concept "standard of living" which is more subjective than objective. Quality of Life is measured in metric units called DALY's and QALY's. A DALY is the measurement of how a disease impacts a persons life in terms of disability. DALY is an acronym for Disability-adjusted life years. DALYS are seen has negative years of life quality as opposed to life expectancy. A QALY is a measurement of an ill persons Quality-adjusted life years, or reintegration or rehabilition from disability. When we discuss the issue of quality of life we begin to delve in to a controversial area. Who is to say what "quality" really is? Some will push the civil rights concept as their basis of quality of life, holding the view that freedom and liberty are the foundation of living a life worth living. While others may hold the view that a person who is incapable to taking care of themself needs to be institutionalized for their own protection. While both views may be "well intentioned" and focused on treating a person the most humane possible, there is great conflict between the two. For example, if a person is eating their own feces and screaming obscentities constantly can we determine the person to a quality life, if they are given the liberty to act any way that they feel suits them, and on the other hand if we restrict the persons right to behave how they see fit and redirect them to safer behavior, cleaner hygiene, and more effective social interaction with others are we imposing our values upon such a person or limiting their freedom. Does it hurt the person to help the person the way we believe they need to be helped? To some there is an association between Positive Psychology and the Recovery Movement. Positive psychology is a reconstituted version of CBT, which focuses on keeping happy people happy and really does not address psychological disorders; although there have been recent applications of it in psychiatric settings. Some authors feel that two are very compatible as if to say similar in some aspects but different in others. The tenets of positive psychology are similar to those of the recovery movement. The difference being that those being "positive" are too much like those who claim to be needing "counseling", whom unintentionally or intentionally stigmatize persons with psychological disorders as being inferior, immoral or criminal; as if to say persons needing "counseling" or positive psychology do not have a psychological disorder. Recovery implies acknowledging having something to recover from. While the latter only speaks of being happy as an alternative to having a disorder. Although positive psychology may serve as a preventative medicine psychology, it says little for persons whom may already be ill. SEE ALSOBroken Windows Theory Martin Seligman was the president of the APA, he is now considered the father of Positive psychology. In the past Seligman was known for experiments and studies in learned helplesness, which contributed to the understanding of clinical disorders. This philosophical approach called positive psychology is wrapped in writings such asAristotles'Nichomachean Ethics. One of the notable concepts discussed in Positive Psychology is Eudaimonia, which is a word Aristotle used to describe an idealistic "self-actualization." Positive psychology discusses issues of Life Satisfaction, Strengths and Quality of Life.

SEE ALSOPositive Psychology on Wikia