Promoting recovery through peer support: possibilities for social work practice

Soc Work Health Care. 2012;51(1):53-65. doi: 10.1080/00981389.2011.622667.


The Recovery Approach has been adopted by mental health services worldwide and peer support constitutes one of the main elements of recovery-based services. This article discusses the relevancy of recovery and peer support to mental health social work practice through an exploration of social work ethics and values. Furthermore, it provides an exploration of how peer support can be maximized in groupwork to assist the social work clinician to promote recovery and well-being. More specifically, this article discusses how the narrative therapy concepts of "retelling" and "witnessing" can be used in the context of peer support to promote recovery, and also how social constructionist, dialogical, and systemic therapy approaches can assist the social work practitioner to enhance peer support in recovery oriented groupwork.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Mental Health Services
  • Peer Group*
  • Social Support*
  • Social Work / ethics
  • Social Work / methods*