Author: Bruce Hershfield, M.D.
Publication Year: 2009
Edition Summer 2009
Type of resource: Newsletter
Ronald J. Diamond
On March 13th, Spring Grove Hospital Center, the Mental Hygiene Administration, the Maryland Mental Health Transformation Office, and the University of Maryland School of Medicine conducted a workshop in Pikesville for psychiatrists interested in the recovery-based model of care.
In the keynote address, Ronald J. Diamond of the University of Wisconsin spoke about “recovery from a Psychiatrist’s Point of View”. Addressing “What do we mean by ‘getting better’?”, he said that “recovery’ is not the same as “cure”. It’s a “process”, not a “destination”, and it is highly individualized, with aspects of the clinical, social, economic, and personal. It emphasizes a “positive culture of healing”, including an emphasis on being able to work. It addresses “Who gets to set the goals of treatment?” –how much should patients decide what they should be doing? It can improve the approach psychiatrists take when they are trying to convince people to take their medications. It can increase patients’ understanding of the meaning that medications have for them. It views treatment intensity as provided on a continuum that can extend from neglect to “toxic over-help”. Finally, he pointed out that people can make poor choices simply because they are people, and that their mistakes may not necessarily be reflections of their mental disorders.
Lisa Dixon, M.D., who is the Director of the Division of Services Research at the University of Maryland, then talked about “What’s the Science Behind Recovery?” She said that the President’s New Commission on Freedom supports the recovery concept, even though it is hard to measure or even objectify. She went on to describe the results of an NIMH-funded survey called the Maryland Assessment of Recovery in Serious Mental Illness.
She was followed by the Director of Community Psychiatry at the University of Maryland, Jill RachBeisel, M.D., who spoke about “Implementing Services with a Recovery Focus”. She instructed the audience about how to work with patients to maximize their strengths, and to help their patients set goals and then to prioritize how to address them. She went on to talk about the use of “medication checks” and about the importance of avoiding coercion if the recovery approach is to be successful.
The lectures were followed by an interesting discussion among panel members who had benefited from treatment.
Gayle Jordan-Randolph, M.D., who is the Clinical Director of the Mental Hygiene Administration, asked whether psychiatrists would be interested in attending future presentations. This was the first time that psychiatrists who are interested in the public sector (including many who are not currently working in it) had gotten together in a long time, she pointed out.
I am hopeful that it will not be the last.