Four Phases of Mental Health Recovery

Spectrum Community Mental Health believes that people with psychiatric disabilities can—and do—lead purposeful and satisfying lives. Spectrum has faith in the hopeful process of recovery from mental illness. People in recovery can start anyplace at anytime and work at their own pace along their journey toward recovery.

Spectrum’s person-centered services use a strength-based model that looks to the person in recovery as the leader in the development of goals. Spectrum staffs work as partners with the person to support, assist, and teach skills that enable them to achieve their goals for a successful and satisfying life.

During the past year, Spectrum—which provides community support services to adults with serious mental illness in Hennepin County—has greatly strengthened its emphasis on mental health recovery.

“We have always believed in giving people hope and have operated on the belief that people can get better,” says Spectrum director Karen Hoveland. “Now we are trying to articulate that belief more strongly and to incorporate the Four Phases of Recovery into everything we do. Whatever phase people are at when they contact us, our goal is to help them move forward.”

“‘Recovery’ does not mean the same thing as ‘cure,’ ” she continues. “Most of our participants are dealing with a life-long illness, but most can achieve a satisfying life despite the illness.”

In Spectrum’s recovery work, it uses “The Four Phases of Mental Health Recovery” developed by The Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation at Boston University. These four phases include:

Phase One: Overwhelmed by the Disability
• Feeling hopeless
• Feeling disconnected
• Survival is the main issue

Looking for…
• Good treatment
• Meeting basic needs
• Working with someone who is both competent and compassionate

Phase Two: Struggling with the Disability
• Asking “How can I live with this disability?”
• Learning active coping skills
• Rebuilding sense of self

Looking for…
• Acceptance by other people
• Relapse-management skills and self-care skills
• Connections with work, people, activities
• Opportunities to take healthy risks
• Psychotherapy

Phase Three: Living Well with the Disability
• Experiencing increased confidence and a stronger sense of self
• Connecting to work, people, activities
• Finding a niche

Looking for…
• People who can help me find satisfying work
• Reconnection with family if desired
• Opportunities to fill multiple roles
• Financial security
• Spiritual connections

Phase Four: Living Beyond the Disability
• Realizing that there is more to life than the illness
• Feeling well connected to others and the community
• Testing capabilities
• Finding new meaning and purpose in life

Looking for…
• Help in choosing, getting and keeping meaningful work
• Positive relationships
• Spiritual connections

For information about services offered by Spectrum, please call 612-752-8200.