Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 287-301

First online:

Some Recovery Processes in Mutual-Help Groups for Persons with Mental Illness; I: Qualitative Analysis of Program Materials and Testimonies

  • Patrick W. CorriganAffiliated withUniversity of Chicago Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation
  • , Joseph D. CalabreseAffiliated withUniversity of Chicago Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation
  • , Sarah E. DiwanAffiliated withUniversity of Chicago Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation
  • , Cornelius B. KeoghAffiliated withInternational GROW Movement
  • , Lorraine KeckAffiliated withInternational GROW Movement
  • , Carol MusseyAffiliated withInternational GROW Movement

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Outcome research is beginning to suggest that mutual-help programs lead to significant improvements in the quality of life and related factors of members who have serious mental illness. This paper is the first in a series that examines recovery processes that may account for these positive outcomes. In Study 1, a content analysis was completed on one dimension of the written program for GROW, a mutual-help program with more than 40 years of experience. Thirteen reliable recovery processes emerged from this analysis; most prominent among these was to “be reasonable” and to “decentralize from self by participating in community.” In Study 2, the recovery processes that emerged from this analysis of one aspect of GROW's written program were applied to 22 written testimonies made by Growers. Results of this analysis again showed being reasonable and decentralizing from self by participating in community were essential processes in this mutual-help program. Analysis of the personal testimonies also showed accepting one's personal value as an important element in the GROW program.

mutual-help programs recovery processes International GROW Movement content analysis