Our Views

Blog #4 Recovery as part of an attempt by professionals and managers to control people

Perhaps foremost among the ‘other fish’ that haunt the pool of recovery is the notion that supporting recovery is part of an agenda orchestrated by managers and professionals to take over control of peoples’ lives. If this is the case, then it would clearly be fundamentally in opposition to recovery values. However, I have to ask, exactly who it is that wants to use supporting recovery in this way? I have seen the proposition stated a lot, but I have never seen it attributed. I assume that those who are thought to be behind it are either doing it unconsciously, or are being very clever in not making it explicit. I have to say that I’m too old to believe carefully orchestrated subliminal campaigns and it therefore looks to me like a carefully constructed ‘straw man’ for which there is really very little evidence.

In fact, the World Health Organisation, which is not exactly known as the voice of radical management ideas, appears to support a version of recovery which is based on a careful understanding of the person’s needs for support as defined by them and puts peer support in a central place.

…. “From the perspective of the individual with mental illness, recovery means gaining and retaining hope, understanding of one’s abilities and disabilities, engagement in an active life, personal autonomy, social identity, meaning and purpose in life and a positive sense of self.  Recovery is not synonymous with cure…. The core service requirements include: listening and responding to individuals’ understanding of their condition and what helps them to recover; working with people as equal partners in their care; offering choice of treatment and therapies, and in terms of who provides care; and the use of peer workers and supports, who provide each other with encouragement and a sense of belonging, in addition to their expertise”. 

Surely, this is a version of recovery which most of us could sign up to – including most managers and professionals? At the heart of it is ‘co-production’ and at the heart of co-production is the sharing of power.