OBJECTIVE: Medication is particularly important to advocates within the mental health recovery movement and this movement is founded upon a resistance to coercive treatment. Given this history, we explored the perspectives of providers and service users engaged in the recovery-oriented practice Person-Centered Care Planning (PCCP) to understand (a). How providers trained in PCCP understand the role of psychiatric medication and (b). How service users receiving services from providers trained in PCCP understand and experience the role of psychiatric medication in treatment.
METHOD: This study comprises data from the qualitative phase of an NIMH-funded randomized trial of PCCP, an evidence-based recovery-oriented practice. Data were collected from 22 focus groups of providers and service users across seven community mental health centers. Interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis.
RESULTS: Qualitative themes from the provider focus groups included “promoting adherence” and “medication as a precondition.” Providers expressed that service users need to be adherent to medication and their symptoms managed before recovery-oriented practices could be pursued. Service user themes included “we were cattle” and medication as “my saving grace.” While many experienced medication as helpful, they found providers’ focus on adherence to be inflexible and, at times, coercive.
CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: These results suggest that even within agencies actively implementing recovery-oriented practices, there are aspects of treatment, namely medication management, that are more impervious to recovery principles. Agency level trainings in PCCP and other recovery-oriented practices would benefit from the inclusion of all staff, including psychiatrists and other prescribers.
“How do you try to have anyone comply or at least be pliable with you if that person’s not even medicated?”: Perspectives on the use of psychiatric medication within recovery-oriented practice
Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 45 (2), 153-159. doi: 10.1037/prj0000493. PMCID: PMC8766622.