Using appreciative inquiry to facilitate implementation of the recovery model in mental health agencies

Health Soc Work. 2011 Nov;36(4):259-66. doi: 10.1093/hsw/36.4.259.


This article describes an organizational development tool called appreciative inquiry (AI) and its use in mental health to aid agencies implementing recovery model services. AI is a discursive tool with the power to shift dominant organizational cultures. Its philosophical underpinnings emphasize values consistent with recovery: community, empowerment, and positive focus. Recent research in the field of mental health demonstrates the salience of organizational cultural context in affecting new service adoption. This article explores how AI could be helpful in shifting an organization's culture to render it compatible with recovery through descriptions of two mental health centers' use of the tool. The experiences described indicate that AI, if used consistently, empowers staff. The article concludes with consideration of the implications of this empowerment for recovery model implementation and directions for future research.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Mental Health Services / trends
  • Models, Organizational
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Organizational Culture
  • Power, Psychological*