Recovery and serious mental illness: a review of current clinical and research paradigms and future directions

Bethany L. Leonhardt, Kelsey Huling, Jay A. Hamm, David Roe, Ilanit Hasson-Ohayon, Hamish J. McLeod, Paul H. Lysaker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: Recovery from serious mental illness has historically not been considered a likely or even possible outcome. However, a range of evidence suggests the courses of SMI are heterogeneous with recovery being the most likely outcome. One barrier to studying recovery in SMI is that recovery has been operationalized in divergent and seemingly incompatible ways: as an objective outcome versus a subjective process. Areas covered: This paper offers a review of recovery as a subjective process and recovery as an objective outcome; contrasts methodologies utilized by each approach to assess recovery; reports rates and correlates of recovery; and explores the relationship between objective and subjective forms of recovery. Expert commentary: There are two commonalities of approaching recovery as a subjective process and an objective outcome: (i) the need to make meaning out of one’s experiences to engage in either type of recovery and (ii) there exist many threats to engaging in meaning making that may impact the likelihood of moving toward recovery. We offer four clinical implications that stem from these two commonalities within a divided approach to the concept of recovery from SMI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1117-1130
Number of pages14
JournalExpert Review of Neurotherapeutics
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2 Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Serious mental illness
  • outcomes
  • recovery
  • recovery-oriented practice
  • remission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • General Neuroscience


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