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Psychiatr Rehabil J. 2005 Spring;28(4):315-22.

Moving forward: negotiating self and external circumstances in recovery.

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  • 1Centre for Research and Education in Human Services, Ontario, Canada.


This article presents a framework for understanding the concept of recovery from serious mental illnesses and other life struggles. The framework is based on findings from a longitudinal, qualitative study that involved in-depth interviews with 28 people who experienced serious mental health challenges. The purpose of this article is to clarify the concept of recovery by presenting a grounded theory analysis of the components of recovery. The framework recognizes the experiences of struggle constructed through the words of study participants and captures four main components of recovery: a) a drive to move forward, b) a spiral of positive and negative changes, c) the context of recovery, and d) a dialectical process of ongoing negotiation between self and external circumstances.

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