, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 127-136
Date: 27 Dec 2009

One size fits all: or horses for courses? Recovery-based care in specialist mental health services

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The ‘recovery approach’ to the management of severe mental health problems has become a guiding vision of service provision amongst many practitioners, researchers, and policy makers as well as service users.


This qualitative pilot study explored the meaning of ‘recovery’ with users of three specialist mental health services (eating disorders, dual diagnosis, and forensic) in 18 semi-structured interviews.


The relevance of themes identified in mainstream recovery literature was confirmed; however, the interpretation and relative weight of these themes appeared to be affected by factors that were specific to the diagnosis and treatment context. ‘Clinical’ recovery themes were also seen as important, as were aspects of care that reflect core human values, such as kindness.