Recovery: conceptual and ethical aspects

Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2012 Nov;25(6):497-502. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0b013e328359052f.


Purpose of review: To examine recent publications on implications of recovery for the provision of mental health services.

Recent findings: Predominantly, the concept of recovery, implications for professional mental health services, and the impact of peer workers on the provision of healthcare are discussed.

Summary: Recovery in the context of mental health issues refers to multiple dimensions of the individual's development. According to recent publications, the dimension of an individual journey, measurable through subjective parameters and accounts, is complementary to the traditional objectives of symptom reduction, improvement of functioning, and social inclusion. To foster recovery orientation in mental health services subjective measures should be included in clinical practice, research, and teaching. Moreover, services striving to support recovery need to implement strategies in terms of policy, concepts, structures, and professional attitude. This challenging paradigm shift is claimed to be supported by the integration of peer workers with own lived experience in the provision of mental healthcare. Some exponents of the social recovery movement criticize this recent international development to implement recovery into traditional services, as it would uphold the established structures of power and control. Questions of impaired legal capacity, involuntary admissions and risk assessment related to recovery are rarely discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Mental Health Services
  • Peer Group
  • Psychiatry* / ethics
  • Psychiatry* / methods
  • Recovery of Function