The Recovery Toolkit



14th April 2023


Laura Harris

Recovery tool kit training

A group programme for adults and children who have experienced abuse.

Why the term Recovery?


As an Occupational Therapist I always worked with a holistic view of health, and this meant considering all dimensions of a person’s life while supporting them and providing support that is truly meaningful to the individual.

The recovery model –is increasingly gaining momentum as an approach to support people with emotional distress.

Likewise there is a move away from a medicalised diagnostic approach and a better understanding of the impact  of emotional trauma on individuals.

For example, Johnstone et al (2018)  argue that mental health practice is too heavily dependent on diagnostic classification and the use of psychopharmacology. This approach suggests that services should focus on cultural, social and economic contexts. It moves from the medical and biological dimensions of the person to an understanding of the whole person encompassing the physical, psychological, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of their life. The focus is on the individual and what has happened to them, instead of the specific diagnosis, and offers a solutions-focused approach around the patients’ strengths as well as their vulnerabilities (Munro, 2021).


The 10 Core Principles

At a 2004 National Consensus Conference on Mental Health Recovery and Mental Health Systems Transformation convened by SAMHSA, patients, health-care professionals, researchers and others agreed on 10 core principles undergirding a recovery orientation:

  • Self-direction: Consumers determine their own path to recovery.
  • Individualised and person-centered: There are multiple pathways to recovery based on individuals’ unique strengths, needs, preferences, experiences and cultural backgrounds.
  • Empowerment: Consumers can choose among options and participate in all decisions that affect them.
  • Holistic: Recovery focuses on people’s entire lives, including mind, body, spirit and community.
  • Nonlinear: Recovery isn’t a step-by-step process but one based on continual growth, occasional setbacks and learning from experience.
  • Strengths-based: Recovery builds on people’s strengths.
  • Peer support: Mutual support plays an invaluable role in recovery.
  • Respect: Acceptance and appreciation by society, communities, systems of care and consumers themselves are crucial to recovery.
  • Responsibility: Consumers are responsible for their own self-care and journeys of recovery.
  • Hope: Recovery’s central, motivating message is a better future — that people can and do overcome obstacles.


Putting recovery into action means focusing support on enabling individuals to build their resilience and self-reliance rather than their dependency on agencies or support structures.

The Recovery Toolkit for adults and children is based on this recovery model and these 10 principles.

Both programmes use this psycho educational trauma informed model believing the more individuals know and can understand about domestic abuse, the better equipped they are to deal with the impact of it, and therefore their own recovery and well-being.

The programme cannot change the person’s experience but can enable them to change their ability to cope and move forward so that the experience no longer controls their life.

By understanding their experience as the impact of trauma rather than there being something ‘wrong with them’ can be life changing. 

Johnstone L et al (2018) The Power Threat Meaning Framework: Towards the Identification of Patterns in Emotional Distress, Unusual Experiences and Troubled or Troubling Behaviour, as an Alternative to Functional Psychiatric Diagnosis. British Psychological Society.

Munro M (2021) Mental health diagnosis: looking at a grey area through a critical lens. Nursing Times [online]; 117: 10, 18-20.


by Sue Penna, Rock Pool

The team at Rock Pool, believe passionately that everyone; practitioners and clients, should have the opportunity to reach their full potential and thrive. If you would like to discuss the Recovery Toolkit programmes and how they can help individuals move on with their lives, please contact us here or call 07888 237699. 

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Just a few comments from delegates that have participated in the Recovery Toolkit Programme.

Q. How has the Recovery Toolkit improved your self esteem and made a difference in your life?

“I can now accept myself for who I am. I am able to be more open. I’ve learnt I’ve got no special needs and I am capable of doing what I want. I am capable of learning without been stopped by others.”

“Trying to become better by using more positive thoughts instead of negative thoughts and using more assertive techniques to get listened to without conflict. I changed the thought that nobody likes me.”

“Huge improved relationship with my daughter. Not feeling guilty anymore, can answer her questions about the abuse. Attending this programme has helped with my decision making too. It is a life saver. I can trust in myself more and feeling more confident about returning to work.”


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