This paper is prepared by a subgroup of REFOCUS. The subgroup is made up of people who have had experience of using mental health services. All are currently living fulfilling and satisfying lives, and are in recovery. We write the paper for members of the College of Psychiatrists to hear our stories, and to hear what has worked for us in Recovery.
We began this paper by each of us writing about our own personal journey to recovery. We then, through focus groups and discussion, teased out themes which were emerging. Narratives and specific anecdotes were particularly powerful in helping the group understand what each person had experienced.
Most of us have had very positive experiences with psychiatrists, and this paper is seen as an aid in helping psychiatrists reflect on their practice.
We are aware many psychiatrists see their role as sorting out problems. In this paper we make suggestions on how the psychiatrist might be there to facilitate the service user in sorting out his or her own problems, as for us, this has been what has worked in our recovery.