Using Social Constructionism to Research the Recovery Movement in Mental Health in Ireland: A Critical Reflection on Meta-theory Shaping the Inquiry
The concept of recovery is well documented within mental health literature. Yet, it remains a contested notion since moving beyond a singular, biomedical focus in the late 20th century. Recovery is currently viewed as a unique, personalised journey for people living with mental illness. This article considers the significance of social constructionism and allied meta-theoretical constructs in exploring personal recovery in mental health practice and service delivery. Based on a comprehensive literature review, and researcher reflexivity, it argues that adopting this theoretical position can result in new perspectives and learning for researchers and care professionals seeking to understand the existential meaning of personal recovery. Moreover, it provides a unique account of the value of social constructionism for deconstructing the notion and revealing new interpretations of what it might mean.