Recovery Psychology (Recovery Mindset): This term represents a belief set forming an attitude that determines the degree to which persons can conceive of having the ability to make recovery possible and achievable.

Recovery (Personal Recovery) Defined: Making a personal recovery involves asking two fundamental inquiries:

1) Who dominates the helm of one’s life? Is it mental illness (The Illness) or the person?

2) Who dominates the occupancy of personal space within one’s life? Is it the mental illness, or is it the person?”

There are many definitions of recovery. However, to contextualize recovery from Citizens Psychiatry’s vantage, here is the following description,

A Personal Recovery can be described as a transformational, self-directed, yet collaborative journey of discovery and learning that fosters the alignment of a person with their values and purposes, which places the individual at the center of living life with renewed value, meaning, and purpose. This journey changes the mental illness trajectory, so “The Illness” begins to orbit around the person’s life, like family, friendships, education, pets, and career, considered a Person-Centered Life. This trajectory is considered a recovery position of strength, as opposed to the individual’s life orbiting the illness, an unrecovered position of weakness, known as Illness-Centered Living.

When a person is at the Helm, greater freedom, quality of life, and richness are achieved, allowing them to own their life. This is a freeing experience where The Illness’s centered position is lost.

Hopefulness: “Hope” is a belief that holds onto an outcome regardless of its merit and probability. “Hopefulness,” on the other hand, is hope with merit and likelihood that the outcome desired can be reached. Emotionally, all versions of hope offer feelings of solace, comfort, and a degree of positivity, depending on the strength of its hold.

Person-Centered Living (Person-Directed Living; Person Led Living): As opposed to Illness-Centered Living, Person-Centered Living describes the gaining of personal autonomy, the sphere of influence, exercised to direct living one’s life on purpose, no matter the degree of influence exerted by the mental illness. In this recovery position of strength, The Illness (mental illness) holds a weakened position of attachment to the person. Illness-Centered Living (Illness-Led Living; Illness Living) As opposed to Person-Centered Living, Illness-Led Living describes the mental illness condition gaining greater occupancy and autonomy to influence leading a person’s life. This recovery position of weakness for individuals sees them solidly attached to The Illness’s presence.

Brief Recovery Work (BRW): This regenerative recovery practice builds on and translates the tenets of the recovery orientation into an implementable, structured program that, when applied between the client and provider, enhances and strengthens the person’s psychology of recovery towards knowing recovery is possible and achievable. The practice of Brief Recovery Work (BRW) aims to leverage a person’s identified personal resources to support building “Agency” and “Hopefulness,” constituent factors involved in elevating a strong recovery mindset. With BRW, this practice is centered on the person and not the affliction, disability, illness, or disease as the core issue to address.

Flash Drive Forms: Like a flash drive stick used for storing and retrieving information with computers, the Flash Drive Forms provided in the program can save and port information manually, simulating this function. As such, the necessary recovery data is always present at the provider’s and consumers’ fingertips. There is no need for multiple treatment room sessions to collect this same information. A consumer also does not need to fumble with finding the right words or get across to the provider what important factors they determine are impacting their recovery efforts. Further, the Flash Drive Forms data collected paints a portrait of a person’s recovery landscape, provides feedback to gauge progress, and determines what resources and practices to move recovery forward.

The Meeting Room: This term refers to the meeting space between the person and the provider within the room (office) where service occurs. The Meeting Room is considered “ground zero” for making a recovery.

Personal Agency (Agency): Personal agency is “the sense that I am the one who is causing or generating an action” (Gallagher 2000, p. 15). A person with a sense of personal agency perceives himself/herself as the subject influencing their own actions and life circumstances (Bandura 2006; Gallagher 2000). Apr. 22, 2020

Uplifting Force: This term can be described as an internal sense of richness generated from within an individual derived from the combined interplay of all the recovery drivers identified (Survey B). This flow of richness gives rise to an “Uplifting Force” that can uplift the fabric of a person’s life, even through challenging times. This force is subjectively quantified for its weight and potency.

Dragging Effect: This term refers to the degree of internal turbulence within oneself caused by all the weight and stress of “Hurdles” identified (Section 2, Survey E). The turbulence created by these “Hurdles” weighs down the fabric of one’s life-producing resistance, the “Dragging Effect,” which can slow, ground, or stall a recovery. This force is subjectively quantified for its weight and potency impact.

The Illness (mental health illnesses): This metaphor refers to a single or collective of psychiatric conditions forming the persona called “The Illness.” ‘The Illness’ can be viewed as having a mind of its own with a mission to influence how a person views themselves and the shape of their life. ‘The Illness’ brings and feeds itself on personal grief tied to symptoms, events, and circumstances posing as ‘Hurdles’ to recovery to survive.

Personal Life Space: This term refers to the personal sphere of territory a person occupies for conducting their life versus the sphere of territory “The Illness” occupies to carry on its way of survival.

Psychiatric (Chemical) Recovery vs Personal Recovery: Western medical recovery, in psychiatric treatment, is generally “chemically driven” as a first line of treatment. In contrast, a “personal recovery” carries the mental illness not on the merits of the pill’s effectiveness but on the merits of what an individual brings to their life that offers greater value, purpose, and meaning. This recovery experience pivots a person from an Illness Led Life (Illness Centered Living) towards living a Person-Centered Life, a preferred recovery position.

Recovery-Based Interview (R.B.I.): These structured interviews have regenerative effects on elevating a person’s recovery psychology, accentuating “Agency” and” Hopefulness” while lessening The Illness’s grip, strength, and influence. The Recovery-Based Interviews (R.B.I) are based on narrative practices (see definition) coupled with the recovery-orientation framework.

Narrative Practice: Michael White and Todd Epstein developed this set of practices applied to Psychotherapy, Counseling, Community Work, and now, Brief Recovery Work (BRW). These practices build “Agency” and “Hopefulness” building by focusing on preferred narratives in a person’s life to break down the mental illness’s grip, influence, and strength. This focus allows these preferred narratives to align with the person’s goals, abilities, purposes, direction, and desired outcome, representing a recovery for the person.

Recovery Continuum: Recovery is not a static and rigid process. Instead, recovery is fluid and flexible, with a natural oscillation between Illness-Centered Living and Person-Directed Living. In recovery, progress is defined when the frequency of Illness-led Living decreases while there is an increase in the domination of Person-Led Living. This migratory transition increases the sphere of influence a person has for leading their life on purpose.

Medications: First Line of Treatment: As a first line of treatment, psychoactive drugs are beneficial for stabilization purposes. However, beyond this point, especially with treatment failure affecting a person’s opportunity to make a personal recovery, medications offer, in the long term, the least amount of clinical value. If, over some time, the person is unresponsive to drug taking, then a chemical recovery has not taken hold. At this junction, medication should step aside to take a second position while a “recovery first policy” takes its first position. It is clear from recovery research that drug taking cannot, over the long term, cultivate a Personal Recovery when medication failure is compromising a person’s life but can complement it.

On a policy level for specific diagnoses, some countries, like the UK and Australia, have medication as a second line of treatment. This is seen in the diagnosis of depression, for example. Here, the first line of treatment recommended for depression is talk therapy, followed in second place by medications. However, this can look very different on the practice level, reflecting the opposite of the original policy. In other words, the practice standards may not align with the policy itself.

Recovery First Policy: What is clear from research and meta-analysis of psycho-active drug use for the past 60 years is the marginal effectiveness of Pill taking in treatment, which can become a barrier to making a personal recovery. The institution of a “recovery first policy” as an equal partner in the treatment equation is called for to counter the impact of medication failure on an individual’s recovery psychology.

In Citizen Psychiatry, there is a recognition of medications making a valuable contribution to psychiatric stabilization, a short-term proposition. However, beyond this point, medications are the least appropriate and effective in fostering recovery if there is little to no improvement beyond stabilization. Another salient point regarding offering consumers a “recovery first policy” is the provision of “choice” regarding whether they deem medications right for them.

“We are all in this together.”

-The Recovery Specialist