Negotiating the Practical Meaning of Recovery in a Process of Implementation

An Empirical Investigation of How a Participatory-Inspired Research Approach to Implementation Might Facilitate a More Recovery-Oriented Practice: The Case of RENEW-DK
  • Michaela HoejEmail author
  • Katrine Schepelern Johansen
  • Birgitte Ravn Olesen
  • Sidse Arnfred
Original Article


As implementation of recovery-oriented practices has proven difficult, this study investigates whether a participatory-inspired approach to implementing and adjusting a recovery-oriented model, RENEW-DK, might facilitate a more recovery-oriented practice among the professionals in public sector services. Ten narrative interviews with professionals was analyzed from a Science and Technology Studies perspective, and special attention was devoted to the concepts of distortion and stigmatization. Despite a one-year participatory process of model adjustment and implementation, professionals experienced RENEW-DK as a distortion and thus shaped their practice of RENEW-DK according to organizational requirements and professional beliefs instead of making their practice more recovery-oriented. The study calls attention to the need to acknowledge contradictions between intentions in general models and values in specific organizations with local norms and practices.


Recovery-oriented practices Implementation Co-development Mental health Young adults Professionals Employment Education Psychiatry Narrative interviews 



The authors would especially like to thank the young adults and professionals participating in this study. We would also like to thank Research Associate Professor JoAnne Malloy, Institute on Disability, University of New Hampshire and co-developer of the RENEW model and collaborator in this project for providing training and assistance throughout implementation of RENEW.


This work was supported by the Intersectoral Research Unit, The Capital Region (Grant Numbers Pb-2014-5, P-2014-2-09); and The Health Foundation (Helsefonden) (Grant Number 2012B199).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

As stated, Michaela Hoej was employed by the two organizations in which this study was conducted. Otherwise, the Authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

The project was approved by The Danish Data Protection Agency (journal number 03610 and ID-number: RHP-2015-006). The Regional Committee on Research Ethics was also contacted for approval (Protocol number: H-7-2014-FSP15), but the project was not liable to notification, because no biological material was included in the research. Hence, no approval was necessary. Furthermore, the Danish National Board of Health was contacted (Case number 2014111813), but the project was not liable for notification here either.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Statement of Human Rights

The study was conducted in accordance with the Code of Ethics of the American Anthropological Association (


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michaela Hoej
    • 1
    Email author
  • Katrine Schepelern Johansen
    • 2
  • Birgitte Ravn Olesen
    • 3
  • Sidse Arnfred
    • 4
  1. 1.Competence Centre for Rehabilitation and Recovery, Mental Health Centre BallerupThe Mental Health Services of the Capital Region of DenmarkBallerupDenmark
  2. 2.Competence Centre for Dual Diagnoses, Mental Health Centre Sct. HansThe Mental Health Services of the Capital Region of DenmarkRoskildeDenmark
  3. 3.Department of Communication and ArtsRoskilde UniversityRoskildeDenmark
  4. 4.Mental Health Services West, Region ZealandSlagelseDenmark

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