A new vision of healing as constructed by people with psychiatric disabilities working as mental health providers

Daniel B. Fisher, University of Massachusetts Medical School

At the time of publication, Daniel Fisher was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.


This is a description of the experiences which I and other people in recovery from psychiatric disabilities undergo in working in the mental health system. The process of our recovery from psychiatric disabilities enable us to make unique contributions at all levels of service provision because "we have been there too." Working as a provider, however, also creates conflicts between the values of empowerment which we have been fashioning to guide our recovery and the disempowering values of the system. In the short year since this resource paper was written, our influence on the system has been considerable. I believe that people with psychiatric disabilities are now shifting some of the fundamental values of the system. In the original resource paper I wrote that the system needed to make adjustments to accommodate our values of recovery and empowerment. Now, however, we are witnessing systems change rather than system accommodation. The principles of recovery and empowerment have come into the awareness of many mental health workers and administrators.