Mental Ill Health, Recovery and the Family Assemblage
- 875 Downloads
The recovery approach is now among the most influential paradigms shaping mental health policy and practice across the English-speaking world. While recovery is normally presented as a deeply personal process, critics have challenged the individualism underpinning this view. A growing literature on “family recovery” explores the ways in which people, especially parents with mental ill health, can find it impossible to separate their own recovery experiences from the processes of family life. While sympathetic to this literature, we argue that it remains limited by its anthropocentricity, and therefore struggles to account for the varied human and nonhuman entities and forces involved in the creation and maintenance of family life. The current analysis is based on an ethnographic study conducted in Australia, which focused on families in which the father experiences mental ill health. We employ the emerging concept of the “family assemblage” to explore how the material, social, discursive and affective components of family life enabled and impeded these fathers’ recovery trajectories. Viewing families as heterogeneous assemblages allows for novel insights into some of the most basic aspects of recovery, challenging existing conceptions of the roles and significance of emotion, identity and agency in the family recovery process.
KeywordsAssemblage Family assemblage Father Mental illness Recovery
The authors acknowledge the families and service providers who generously gave their time to participate in this research. Parts of the current article were based on a separate journal article (i.e., Price-Robertson, Obradovic and Morgan 2016). This research was conducted while the first author was financially supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award, and was approved by the Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee.
This research was conducted while the first author was financially supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award, which was awarded by the Australian Federal Department of Education and Training.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The first author, Rhys Price-Robertson, declares that he has no conflict of interests. The second author, Lenore Manderson, declares that she has no conflict of interests. The third author, Cameron Duff, declares that he has no conflict of interests.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Adeponle, Ademola, Rob Whitley, and Laurence Kirmayer. 2012. ‘Cultural contexts and constructions of recovery.’ in A. Rudnick (ed.), Recovery of people with mental illness: Philosophical and related perspectives (New York: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
- Bennett, Jane. 2010. Vibrant matter: A political ontology of things (Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press).Google Scholar
- Berlyn, Claire, Sarah Wise, and Grace Soriano 2008 Engaging Fathers in Child and Family Services: Participation, Perceptions and Good Practice. In Canberra: National Evaluation Consortium (Social Policy Research Centre, at The University of New South Wales, and The Australian Institute of Family Studies).Google Scholar
- Bernard, H. Russell, and Gery Ryan. 2010. Analyzing Qualitative Data: Systematic Approaches (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage).Google Scholar
- Braidotti, Rosi. 2013. The Posthuman (Polity Press: Cambridge and Malden).Google Scholar
- Buchanan, Ian, and Nicholas Thoburn (ed.). 2008. Deleuze and politics (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press).Google Scholar
- DeLanda, Manuel 2006 A New Philosophy of Society: Assemblage Theory and Social Complexity. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
- Deleuze, Gilles. 1994. Difference and Repetition (London: Athlone Press).Google Scholar
- Deleuze, Gilles, and Felix Guattari. 1988. A thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and schizophrenia (London: Athlone Press).Google Scholar
- Fox, Nick. 2016. ‘Health sociology from post-structuralism to the new materialisms’, Health (United Kingdom), 20: 62-74.Google Scholar
- Furlong, Mark. 2015. Building the Client’s Relational Base: A Multidisciplinary Handbook (Bristol, UK: The Policy Press).Google Scholar
- Glaser, Barney, and Anselm Strauss. 1967. The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research (Chicago, IL: Aldine Publishing Company).Google Scholar
- Gregg, Melissa, and Greg Seigworth (ed.) 2010 The Affect Theory Reader. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
- Harper, David, and Ewen Speed. 2013. ‘Uncovering recovery: The resistible rise of recovery and resilience’, Studies in Social Justice, 6: 9-26.Google Scholar
- Latour, Bruno. 2005. Reassembling the social: An introduction to actor–network theory (New York: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
- Maybery, Darryl, Graham Meadows, John Clark, Keith Sutton, Andrea Reupert, and Joanne Nicholson. 2015. ‘A personal recovery model for parents with mental health problems.’ in A. Reupert, D. Maybery, J. Nicholson, M. Gopfert and M. Seeman (eds.), Parental Psychiatric Disorder: Distressed Parents and their Families (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press), pp. 312-323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Morgan, Vera, Anna Waterreus, Assen Jablensky, Andrew MacKinnon, John McGrath, Vaughan Carr, Robert Bush, David Castle, Martin Cohen, Carol Harvey, Cherrie Gallelty, Helen Stain, Amanda Neil, Patrick McGorry, Barbera Hocking, Sonal Shah, and Suzy Saw. 2012. ‘People Living with Psychotic Illness in 2010: The Second Australian National Survey of Psychosis’, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 46: 735-752.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Nicholson, Joanne. 2014. ‘Supporting mothers living with mental illness in recovery.’ in N. Benders-Hadi and M. Barber (eds.), Motherhood, mental illness and recovery (Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing).Google Scholar
- Nicholson, Joanne, Toni Wolf, Chip Wilder, and Kathleen Biebel. 2014. Creating options for family recovery: A provider’s guide to promoting parental mental health (Marlborough, MA: Employment Options, Inc.).Google Scholar
- Nichterlein, Maria, and John Morss. 2017. Deleuze and Psychology: Philosophical Provocations to Psychological Practices (Oxon, UK: Routledge).Google Scholar
- Price, Linda, and Amber Epp. 2015. ‘The Heterogeneous and Open-ended Case of Assembling Family.’ in R. Canniford and D. Bajde (eds.), Assembling Consumption: Researching Actors, Networks and Markets (London: Routledge), pp. 59-76.Google Scholar
- Pyyhtinen, Olli. 2016. More-than-Human Sociology: A New Sociological Imagination (Hampshire, UK: Palgrave Macmillan).Google Scholar
- Rudnick, Abraham (ed.) 2012 Recovery of People with Mental Illness. Philosophical and Related Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Slade, Mike. 2013. 100 ways to support recovery: A guide for mental health professionals, 2nd edition. (London: Rethink Mental Illness).Google Scholar
- Slade, Mike, Michaela Amering, Marianne Farkas, Bridget Hamilton, Mary O’Hagan, Graham Panther, Rachel Perkins, Geoff Shepherd, Samson Tse, and Rob Whitley. 2014. ‘Uses and abuses of recovery: Implementing recovery-oriented practices in mental health systems’, World Psychiatry, 13: 12-20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Thornton, Tim. 2012. ‘Is recovery a model?’ in A. Rudnick (ed.), Recovery of people with mental illness: Philosophical and related perspectives (New York: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar