Models for Recovery

At the moment individuals who experience major problems in living and attend what I believe are the misnamed ‘mental health’ services are likely to encounter one of four different models of recovery:

  • The biomedical model of mental illness and recovery
  • The rehabilitation model of mental illness and recovery
  • The empowerment model of recovery
  • The psychological model of recovery

The first two models view people’s problems as ‘mental illness’ and are based on a deficiency approach to human problems. Indeed, these two models assume that individuals with ‘mental illnesses’ will experience a progressive deterioration of mental and social functioning and that this would be carried forward from one affected generation to the next one. The good news is that this biological view of ‘mental illness’ as a disease stemming from brain malfunctioning has not been supported empirically despite the magnitude of research carried out. There is also increasing evidence that individuals diagnosed with a ‘severe and enduring mental illness’ can recover and thrive in society. Mounting evidence also shows that anti-depressants are not clinically effective and that recovery can happen with or without medication. Furthermore, adherents to these two deficiency models can in fact create obstacles to reawakening hope and responsibility for one’s own life. The bad news is the belief that ‘mental illness’ is an incurable genetic disease that continues to persist among both the general public and the mental health professionals despite the growing evidence that individuals labelled schizophrenia or bi-polar depressed can recover and contribute to society. However, more and more consumers of these two recovery models are rejecting these models’ unsubstantiated claims.

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