Chapter

Recovery, narrative theory, and generative madness

Bradley Lewis

in Recovery of People with Mental Illness

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199691319
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754791 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199691319.003.0010

Series: International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry

Recovery, narrative theory, and generative madness

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This chapter examines conceptual and related aspects of a narrative approach to recovery of people with mental illness. A narrative model of psychiatry provides an ideal philosophical touchstone for work in recovery. The recovery movement calls for clinicians who are comfortable with and who encourage empowered clients. It calls for clinicians who can empathically connect with clients’ desires and preferences, and who are willing to let the clients take the lead in making decisions. This does not mean that professionals have no role in recovery. Even with empowered consumers there still remains a place for professionals with the skills necessary to help people to find their path to recovery. What is important is to see that these professional skills, at their heart, are narrative skills. Narrative psychiatry creates clinicians who put the client's experience at the forefront. And narrative psychiatry creates clinicians who understand the many languages of psychic life. They are as comfortable talking about religion, creativity, and politics as they are discussing neurotransmitters, cognitive distortions, and psychodynamics. The recovery movement makes it clear that many consumers wish for just this kind of clinician.

Chapter.  10766 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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