Recovery Explained

Put simply recovery is about having and building a meaningful, satisfying and contributing life and using your strengths to become all you want to be!

What Helps?   

A person’s journey of recovery is a highly individual process. It is about developing a meaningful and satisfying life regardless of a condition or diagnosis. Recovery-identifying, using and developing your skills and talents to become all you want to be and do all you want to do!

Specialist treatment like therapy and medication may be important but it is only a part of the story. Everyone's journey of recovery is individual and uniquely personal – there is no formula , but there does appear to be three things that are critical:

  • Hope– recovery is impossible without hope. Relationships are key in supporting and fostering hope. It is difficult to believe in yourself if everyone around you thinks you will never amount to very much. When you find it hard to believe in yourself and your possibilities you need others to believe in you and hold on to hope for you
  • Control – recovery involves taking back control. This may involve taking control of your life and destiny and finding purpose, meaning and direction in life, deciding what is important to you and finding new dreams and ambitions.  It may also include taking control of your own recovery and self care and working out ways of managing problems so they don’t get in the way of you pursuing your goals and deciding what help and support you need in order to pursue your ambitions
  • Opportunity– recovery is impossible without opening up opportunity for a life beyond illness.  Doing the things that give your life value such as meaningful occupation, work, and participation in community life and leisure activities.

Recovery is about        

  • Living hopefully
  • Taking control over your problems and your life
  • Pursuing your dreams and ambitions.

Recovery involves

  • Building a new sense of self, meaning and purpose
  • Growing within and beyond what has happened to you. 

It is a journey of discovery… discovering ways of understanding and making sense of what has happened

  • you are more than your diagnosis
  • you are the expert
  • you don’t need to rely on services and professionals
  • your journey continues after services
  • your experiences are not totally negative.

Mersey Care Recovery College makes enrolling on a Recovery College course as easy as possible.  Find out more by calling us on 0151 330 4140 or find out more information through the Life Rooms website.

You can also email us at and follow us on twitter @LifeRooms_MC or visit:

The history of recovery 

Much has been written about the term ‘Recovery’. 

PINEL (1745 - 1826) He was named superintendent of the Bicêtre Insane Asylum in Paris in 1792, where he introduced the then-radical notion of treating these patients with human dignity. "Mental derangement" was seen by physicians and the general public as a sign of demonic possession, and patients were routinely held in irons for their entire lives.

DR WILLIAM ANTHONY (1993) Recovery is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful and contributing life even within the limitations caused by illness. A deeply personal, unique process of changing one’s attitudes, values, feelings, goals, skills and roles. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of mental illness.’

SHEPHERD ET AL (2008) At the heart of recovery “ a set of values about a person’s right to build a meaningful life for themselves, with or without the continuing presence of symptoms. Recovery is based on ideas of self-determination and self-management. It emphasises the importance of ‘hope’ in sustaining motivation and supporting expectations of an individually fulfilled life”.

PATIENT FOCUS GROUP AT ASHWORTH HOSPITAL (2015) Recovery is life long. It involves taking responsibility, utilising strengths and creating and maintaining safe relationships to shape personal identity, It includes managing risky behaviour or attitudes. It involves openness and honesty and is aimed towards a positive future. It means being a useful and contributing member of society