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Theoretical background

The fundamental principles of a recovery paradigm emerged during the 1970’s and have had an international influence on public policy direction and delivery of mental health services since that time (Dept. of Health, 2011). Central to the philosophy of recovery is the shift from the biomedical to the holistic, which challenges the “traditional notions of professional power and expertise by helping to break down the conventional demarcation between consumers and staff.” (Comm. Dept. of Health, 2013:2). Recovery is a personal journey, no longer centred on a diagnosis, and treatment of symptoms, but now focused on the lived experience of the consumer and their families/significant others (Comm. Dept. of Health, 2013). A definition of recovery states: “being able to create and live a meaningful and contributing life in a community of choice with or without the presence of mental health issues.” (Comm. Dept. of Health, 2013:2).

The two complimentary elements propelling contemporary provision of service are evidence – based practice (EBP) driven by the principles of recovery (Dept. of Health, 2011:7). The shift from the traditional past to a recovery framework presents change and challenge to governance structures, and individual practice, where cultural change is inevitable and necessary (Comm. Dept. of Health, 2013; Dept. of Health, 2013). The literature highlights a number of recovery – based care models available to services providers.

Strength based assessment – build on client’s strengths in family, support networks and community.

Individual recovery planning – led by the consumer who decides the pathway from a range of options provided.

Partnerships – collaboration between consumers and various providers/supports facilitated by service provider.                                             (Dept. of Health, 2011:8).

Individual practice is built on collaborative partnerships between clinicians and consumers.

“it is the practitioners approach and behaviour that will primarily impact on people’s experiences of treatment. Even when a person is considered unable to make decisions regarding treatment … practitioners may still enter into a collaborative relationship with the person and respond to their particular needs concerns and preferences.”

(Dept. of Health, 2011:9).

Implications of the importance of a sound therapeutic relationship being fundamental to successful practice are clear.

Reference list

Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing. (2013). A national framework for recovery – oriented mental health services. Guide for practitioners and providers. Online ISBN:978-1-74186-011-5. Canberra, Australia.

Department of Health (2011). Recovery – oriented practice Literature review. Retrieved from, http://docs.health.vic.gov.au/docs/doc/EA9CBEB3FB430CE0CA2579090023087E/$FILE/1106004_Recovery%20oriented%20practice%20literature%20review_Web.pdf 23.05.2014

Department of Health (2011). Framework for recovery – oriented practice. Retrieved from, http://docs.health.vic.gov.au/docs/doc/0D4B06DF135B90E0CA2578E900256566/$FILE/framework-recovery-oriented-practice.pdf 23.05.2014