Recovery in Schizophrenia

The featured paper is “A scientific agenda for the concept of recovery as it applies to schizophrenia” by Steven Silverstein and Alan Bellack. This is a review paper looking at a number of issues related to the concept of recovery. The reason for writing this paper is clearly stated and thought provoking  – namely that in the United States, recovery oriented services are being developed and therefore there is a lot of benefit in examining this concept in more detail. At first glance, it may be fairly obvious that services should be oriented towards recovery but the authors argue lucidly that the concept of recovery is far from clear. Indeed as they break down the concept and examine the relevant literature it becomes increasingly apparent that the concept of recovery is one that needs further clarification.

The authors identify the concept of recovery as being of two main types – based on process and outcome and that many definitions are based on consensus rather than on empiricism. The authors then look at some of the research into recovery. In the next section, the authors then look at factors that contribute to recovery and list a number of factors including treatment-related factors and cognitive factors. There is then a more detailed analysis of some of the factors that are thought to play an important role in recovery including self-esteem, self-efficacy, personal narrative, supported services including characteristics of support staff and peer networks. Indeed the contribution of the peer group was a very interesting section and will probably be a very important area of future research.

In the final section the authors summarise some of the key areas including the role of the hospital, recovery in elderly people and the increasing evidence base for the role of trauma in schizophrenia with a consequent need for trauma focused therapy options where appropriate. This paper, by re-examining recovery opens up a number of perspectives for looking at the issues of both illness and recovery.



Steven Silverstein and Alan Bellack. A Scientific agenda for the concept of recovery as it applies to schizophrenia. Clinical Psychology Review. 28. 2008. 1108-1124.


The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.

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