Democracy in Mental Health Care: Therapeutic Communities and the New Recovery Movement

Clarke, Jenelle; Winship, Gary; Clarke, Simon and Manning, Nick (2018). Democracy in Mental Health Care: Therapeutic Communities and the New Recovery Movement. In: Wright, Karen and McKeown, Mick eds. Essentials of Mental Health Nursing. London: Sage Publications, pp. 449–465.



This chapter introduces democratic ways of working within mental health, specifically Therapeutic Communities (TCs) and the New Recovery Movement. Claims that New Recovery represents a paradigm shift for mental health need to be tempered against the backdrop of TCs. The chapter begins by defining social approaches within mental health and introduces TCs, providing a brief history and current framework. You will learn how democracy works in practice within communities by exploring everyday life in TCs. By comparing the New Recovery Movement with TCs, you will also be able to recognise the similarities of the approaches, including using wounded healers, flattened hierarchies, user-involvement, and cost-leaness. Other approaches to recovery are also considered here including the traditions of addiction recovery approaches, Mutual Recovery and Enabling Environments (EEs). We proposes a meta-recovery framework which organises and categorises the variety of recovery approaches. This meta-recovery model is presented as a guide for gauging which types of recovery approaches might be most suitable for which client population. By the end of the chapter, you will be able to reflect upon the future of democratic approaches to mental health as we move forward.

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