Major Project Research


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2017 Spring Grads
Jessica Ariss

Purpose: To generate knowledge, from the perspectives of individuals with lived experience of mental illness, that can guide the development of recovery-oriented therapeutic recreation services.

Methods: Guided by the principles of participatory action research and photovoice, six participant researchers (PRs) generated and analyzed arts-based media and narrative data in response to the research question: How can therapeutic recreation, in a community mental health centre, support the recovery of individuals with mental illness?

Findings: The PRs produced and analyzed 24 pieces of arts-based media and five hours of transcribed narrative data describing their artworks’ relationship to therapeutic recreation and recovery. The PRs identified seven salient themes through the participatory data analysis process: providing a safe place, promoting hope, finding balance, developing self-wisdom, increasing enjoyment, building confidence, and encouraging self-determination.

Conclusion: Service recipients’ unique preferences and perspectives must be integral to service development to deliver therapeutic recreation interventions that are recovery-oriented.


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