Narrative research on mental health recovery: two sister paradigms

Gabriela Spector-Mersel, Evgeny Knaifel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Despite the breadth of narrative studies on individuals with severe mental illness, the suitability of narrative inquiry to exploring mental health recovery (MHR) has not been examined. Aims: (1) Examining the appropriateness of narrative inquiry to studying MHR; (2) assessing the extent to which narrative studies on MHR conform to the unique features of narrative research, as a distinctive form of qualitative inquiry. Methods: Review of empirical, theoretical and methodological literature on recovery and narrative inquiry. Results: Considering the perspectives of recovery and narrative as paradigms, the similarity between their ontology and epistemology is shown, evident in 10 common emphases: meaning, identity, change and development, agency, holism, culture, uniqueness, context, language and giving voice. The resemblance between these “sister” paradigms makes narrative methodology especially fruitful for accessing the experiences of individuals in recovery. Reviewing narrative studies on MHR suggests that, currently, narrative research’s uniqueness, centered on the holistic principle, is blurred on the philosophical, methodological and textual levels. Conclusions: Well-established narrative research has major implications for practice and policy in recovery-oriented mental health care. The narrative inquiry paradigm offers a possible path to enhancing the distinctive virtues of this research, realizing its potential in understanding and promoting MHR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-306
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 4 Jul 2018

Keywords

  • Mental health recovery
  • narrative
  • narrative paradigm
  • narrative research
  • recovery paradigm
  • severe mental illness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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