A meaningful life in our own way
Collaborative Recovery Model

The Collaborative Recovery Model (CRM) was developed over a number of years at the The University of Wollongong and incorporates evidence of practices that have previously assisted people living with enduring mental illness. Influences include:

  • Positive Psychology
  • Psychosocial rehabilitation principles
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • The Stages of Change model
  • Resilience theory
  • Self – Determination theory

The Collaborative Recovery Model is consistent with the values of the recovery movement and meets the criteria for a Recovery Oriented Practice approach outlined in various Australian governments Frameworks for Recovery Oriented Practice. 

The application of the model varies from site to site depending on the nature of the work taking place, however, all Neami National’s services are expected to deliver services consistent with the Guiding Principles and the Key Components.

Neami Support Workers use the framework of the Collaborative Recovery Model to create a professional working alliance that employs the strategic use of communication skills to create a relational dynamic that facilitates an environment of learning and growth, equality and empowerment, mutuality and personal responsibility in a way that benefits both parties.

Peers Support Workers will include the intentional and purposeful use of their own lived experience to further an understanding of the Recovery process.

The Collaborative Recovery Model Guiding Principles
Recovery is an Individual Process

Recovery is described as a deeply personal, unique process of changing one’s attitudes, values, feelings, goals, skills and/or roles. It is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful and contributing life even with limitations caused by illness.

Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of mental illness (Anthony, 1993).

Collaboration and Autonomy Support

Research consistently shows there is a correlation between the strength of the working relationship between a person who is recovering and people who are assisting this process and mental health outcomes (e.g. Martin, et al., 2000).

The Collaborative Recovery Model uses a coaching framework to guide all interactions between consumers and service providers, emphasising and supporting self determination and efficacy as well as calibrating relational dynamics in a power neutral stance.

These guiding principles provide the foundations for the Collaborative Recovery Model and are used in all interactions in providing recovery support.

Components of the Model

The model has four key components.

Change Enhancement, involves supporting the individual to explore their relationship to change and build confidence and capacity to engage in a change process. The model recognises that each individual is different and that change is a very individual process.

Collaborative Strengths and Values Identification, focuses on identifying and bringing into focus the personal strengths and values of the individual as they start to vision a life of meaning and purpose for themselves.

Collaborative Visioning and Goal Striving, involves setting goals to support the individual to further express their strengths and values in their day to day lives.

Collaborative Action and Monitoring, supports the realisation of goals through the development of action plans including the supports the person will need to achieve their goals.

The Model has three applications:

Coach – an individual based coaching intervention, delivered one on one by support workers

Flourish – a group based self- development program, delivered by peer support workers

Empower – a group based program delivered by people with experience as carers for carers.

Currently Neami National implements Coach and Flourish. At sites where Coach is used, CRM is the mechanism used to develop the Individual Service Plan.

Collaborative Recovery Model Protocols

We use 5 protocols to support recovery:

  • The Good Life Album – a life visioning process
  • The Decisional Balance – a motivational enhancement process
  • Camera – a values and strengths identification and clarification process
  • Compass – a goal striving process
  • Map – An action planning and monitoring process.
Evidence to support the CRM

The Collaborative Recovery Model has been a process of development by the Illawarra Institute of Mental Health (University of Wollongong) for a number of years. In 2002 a 5 year trial of the model, the Australian Integrated Mental Health Initiative- High Support Stream Project (known as AIM-HI) commenced at 12 sites, both clinical and non-clinical and in three states of Australia.

The project has since been accompanied by a number of further research projects. The summary of the findings from this research suggests the following:

  • Collaborative Recovery Model (CRM) training improves staff attitudes to recovery
  • CRM training improves the quality of care plan/goal setting documentation
  • Training transfer is low unless supported organisationally
  • Consumers/patients can identify (blindly) differences between services trained in CRM and those not
  • Stages of psychological recovery can be measured (just like symptoms)
  • Goals set by consumers vary across the stage of psychological recovery
  • Between session tasks completed by consumers is related to mental health outcomes
  • Positive approaches (e.g. goals, strengths, gratitude) are popular with consumers.
Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of mental illness
(Anthony, 1993)