Mental Health Recovery in Social Psychiatric Policies: A Reflexive Thematic Analysis

Jacob M. Nielsen, Niels Buus, Lene L. Berring

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review


The realisation of recovery as an overarching goal of mental health care services has proven difficult to achieve in practice. At present, concepts of recovery are contested and unclear, which affects their implementation in psychiatric practices. We examined social psychiatric policies about recovery with the aim to explore their underlying assumptions about recovery. Relevant texts from the policies’ knowledge bases were subjected to reflexive thematic analysis. We developed a central theme: “A clinical standardisation of the concept of recovery”. The theme involved meaning clusters that encompassed conflicting and commonly shared assumptions about recovery across the text corpus. We discussed the findings from discourse analytical and governmentality perspectives. In conclusion, the policies’ aim of providing clarity about recovery was circumvented by the very knowledge bases used to support their endeavours.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6094
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • discourses
  • governmentality
  • knowledge bases
  • management
  • mental health
  • policy
  • recovery
  • social psychiatry

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