Innovation in Recovery and Social Inclusion Theory and Practice 7WHS0017


Unit 1.2 What Facilitates Recovery?

Module Overview / Unit 1.2 / Session 3

Who am I? A person or an illness?


Identity is seen by many commentators within the recovery movement to be a crucial aspect of recovery. (Andresen, 2003)Deegan (2001) in Andresen et al (2003: 589) states ‘My teenage world in which I aspired to dreams of being a valued person in valued roles....I felt these parts of my identity being stripped from me’.

Who am I?

On the left hand side, Sam A. illustrates a person for whom the diagnosis, the illness is paramount and dominates their life. Their identity has been subsumed and constructed by their diagnosis and illness, and their life is lived within the mental health community. 

Sam B. on the right  is the same person but their diagnosis, whilst still being part of them, does not inform, dominate and instruct their identity, which is continuing to grow and develop within the mainstream community.


Activity 3

Go to the Class Discussion #Identity1 and discuss with your classmates the difference between the two very different outcomes, to the same person? Look at the following questions below and use them to inform your discussion
Sam A:

  1. What do you think feeds and maintains the identity of illness?
  2. How does this create dependency on mental health services?
  3. How does this erode a person’s sense of self management  and self worth?
  4. Language? What use of language feeds the growth of the illness?
  5. How do conversations that focus on symptoms impact on the person’s sense of self?
  6. Where is the location of expertise for Sam A?
  7. Does risk averse practice have a role in this?

Sam B:

  1. Which approaches have enabled Sam B: to retain their identity apart from their diagnosis?
  2. Where is the location of expertise for Sam B?
  3. What conversational stance has been utilised with Sam B?
 Where is control for Sam B’s wellness located?  

Guide Time = Around 1 hour

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