Psychology’s role in the
BY DR. GWENDOLYN PURYEAR KEITA • APA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR THE PUBLIC INTEREST
A new way of conceptualizing what it means to recover from mental
illness is emerging, and APA is making sure that psychologists are at the
forefront. Several landmark federal reports over the past decade have called
for radical transformation of mental health care based on the concept of
“recovery,” which is defined as the “process of change through which
individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-
directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”
However, many practitioners, including psychologists,
have not been trained to provide recovery-oriented services.
To address this issue, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Services Administration has contracted with APA to educate
psychologists about recovery-based services across our
profession. In this era of health-care reform, it is timely for
psychologists to learn about, and contribute to, the evolving
range of recovery-oriented practices.
Moving into the future, there is
mutual benefit in psychologists
playing an expanded role within
the recovery movement.
centered planning, a collaborative process very often required
as the foundation of the patient-centered health teams.
Psychologists also play key roles as evaluators of patient-centered outcomes, yet another priority area that has been
identified — and funded — as a key element of health-care
In each of these arenas, significant work has been done
within the recovery movement, and the APA’s Recovery to
Practice initiative is using this work as a foundation for a
comprehensive curriculum that will support psychologists
who want to enhance their competence in recovery-oriented
I invite you to contribute your talents and ideas to this
ongoing effort. The recovery movement owes much to the
contributions of psychologists, who have advanced the scientific
and applied understanding of person-centered therapeutic
approaches, community development strategies, rehabilitation
models, organizational change processes, disability rights and
advocacy, participatory research methods, and more.
Moving into the future, there is mutual benefit in
psychologists playing an expanded role within the recovery
movement, and the Recovery to Practice team welcomes your
comments and involvement. n
For more on the Recovery to Practice initiative, go to www.apa.