What does it mean to be recovery-oriented?

In recent months I’ve been spending a lot of time working with systems, caregivers and patients with severe and persistent mental illness.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the role of recovery and what a recovery orientation looks like in that context.

I stumbled upon the University of Melbourne’s recovery library and, under the category of hope, found a couple of interesting and challenging documents. Both of these could be used to evaluate and activity or service to assess the degree to which it is recovery-oriented.

This seems especially valuable as we begin to see every SUD program and practitioner describing themselves as recovery-oriented. And, this kind of tool could be really helpful as other approaches adopt the language of recovery and roles like recovery coaches. For example, harm reduction.

Some of the things that leap out from the first document are the emphasis on hope at every level, high expectations, growth orientation, personal agency and community.

What leapt out at me in the second one is apparent skepticism toward empiricism and a goal of objectivity, categorizing the following as the “traditional” approach:(Apparently) value-free, scientific, and randomized controlled trials.

I suppose that leaps out to me because those are the grounds on which programs and approaches, including recovery-oriented programs and approaches, seek to establish legitimacy.

I don’t know if these are the right lines for distinguishing a recovery orientation from other approaches but, as recovery is increasingly destabilized in professional and advocacy circles, it seems worth revisiting.