Annotated Bib: “Writing For Recovery: A Practice Development Project For Mental Health Service Users, Carers And Survivors”

This week’s Annotated Bibliography entry analyzes an article by Sam Taylor, Helen Leigh-Phippard, and Alec Grant. You may view the full text here.

Annotated Bib Entry

Taylor, Sam, Helen Leigh-Phippard, and Alec Grant. “Writing For Recovery: A Practice Development Project For Mental Health Service Users, Carers And Survivors.” International Practice Development Journal 4.1 (2014): 1-13. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Mar. 2015.

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This paper discusses a research project based on the topic of “writing for recovery narrative practice development” (1). The participants consisted of mental health “service users,” caregivers for service users, and survivors of trauma. Participants were provided with a safe place to explore creative writing activities in an effort to reduce the stress of writing and to develop a creative environment where they could find their own individual “writing voices” (1). The major purpose of this project was to help participants use creative writing to work toward recovering from traumatic personal experiences and to create “social meaning” out of those experiences.

This project sought to make use of both the individual writing process and the collective writing process in the creation of an anthology of creative works written by participants. The Writing for Recovery (WfR) project was situated within an “anti-humanist, Deleuzian theoretical framework, where people and activities are seen only to have integrity and existence through productive interaction with other people and activities” (2). One of the challenges of this project was the resistance of mental health workers to the idea that institutional psychiatric treatment was often viewed by service users as part of the traumatic experience rather than being seen solely as part of the remedy for mental health issues related to trauma. The researchers found that individual re-storying efforts may often be overcome by the “master narratives of institutional psychiatry” (2).


“In terms of our theoretical and methodological position, described in detail…, we believed that harnessing the individual and collective writing process would facilitate participant discovery of ways of re-storying identity, removed from the pressures of perceived and actual clinical mental health expectations. Moreover, in doing so we wanted to contribute towards helping mental health users, carers and survivors address the social justice issues of disempowerment, isolation and diminished sense of worth” (2).


The more I research the topic of writing as healing, the more I begin to see it as a subject that I might like to do additional research on. This was an excellent article on that subject, and I would love to apply this method to domestic violence survivors. If I keep this up, I might decide to go get a Ph.D. after all. Wait, does this mean I have to take back what I said about hating annotated bibliographies?

If you enjoy my scholarly writing, you might also enjoy my new book, Papers: A Master Collection on the Art of Writing. Buy your copy on Kindle today for just 99 cents!


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