Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

Mental health practitioners engage with individuals experiencing mental ill health in a variety of clinical contexts. Against this background is the often-complex context in which individuals experience their health and wellbeing and in which mental health practitioners will provide holistic person-centred care. It is imperative that mental health practitioners increase their understanding of contemporary and complex mental health problems and develop confidence in implementing a range of recovery-based interventions.

This unit builds on and extends the knowledge and understanding acquired in other units. Recovery theory, originally developed in relation to psychotic illness, will be examined as it applies to a range of contemporary mental health problems such as involuntary treatment, criminal justice, life-span development, and as a framework for family work. The unit will explore research from diverse perspectives to consider the theoretical, policy and practice dimensions of recovery principles in these contested settings. It will focus on the development of skills in specific recovery-based interventions such as trauma informed practice, and recovery-based coaching.

The aim of this unit is to provide students with the opportunity to develop advanced knowledge of and ability to apply recovery-based interventions in a variety of clinical contexts.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - understand the integration of recovery theory to contested contemporary problems in mental health (GA5);

LO2 - utilise recovery theory to inform knowledge and practice in working in partnership with mental health consumers and families (GA3, GA7, GA5);

LO3 - demonstrate skills in relationship-based approaches to mental health practice in the specialist areas of trauma informed practice and recovery-based coaching (GA1, GA3, GA5);

LO4 - analyse and engage with the political dimensions of recovery in mental health services theory and practice theory in shaping research, policy and practice in contemporary mental health fields (GA6, GA2, GA5, GA9).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include:


Contemporary recovery theory

  • Overview of contemporary recovery theory development.
  • Critiques of recovery theory.
  • Competing perspectives in the application of recovery theory.
  • Power and politics of recovery theory.
  • Recovery theory as a framework for mental health research


Recovery theory and involuntary treatment

  • Establishing the evidence base for recovery-informed involuntary treatment.
  • Competing perspectives of consumers, families and workers.
  • Practice approaches to ensuring recovery-focussed approaches to involuntary treatment.


Recovery theory and the criminal justice system

  • Competing theories of care and treatment of mentally ill offenders.
  • Structure and agency theories
  • Establishing an evidence-base for application of recovery theory in criminal justice jurisdictions.


Recovery and Physical Health

  • Critiques of recovery principles in life-stage theory.
  • Physical health consequences of mental illness.
  • Establishing an evidence-base for application of recovery theory in contested areas such as youth and old age.


Working in partnership with consumers and families

  • The politics and power of partnerships
  • Working with competing and contested perspectives
  • Families and recovery theory


Advanced practice applications of recovery theory

  • Trauma-informed approaches – theory and practice
  • Coaching approaches – theory and practice

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit utilises an active learning process offered in online mode delivery through the learning environment online (LEO) via eLearning link. This approach to learning is flexible and inclusive, enabling students to access a range of learning opportunities form a variety of geographical locations.

Students will be provided with opportunities for independent and collaborative learning in order to actively explore and critically appraise health promotion, cultural perspectives and social inclusion in mental health. This online platform provides students with access to web-based learning in the form of online learning modules, webinars, discussion forums, guided readings with links to electronic readings and other self-directed learning activities. The online mode for this unit provides flexibility with structured learning opportunities, open access to peer collaboration, discussion and reflection, to ensure a quality learning experience for the student. This approach to learning is flexible and inclusive,  providing students with the opportunity to develop their understanding through interrogation of relevant literature, collaborative dialogue with peers and lecturers and critically reflection on recovery-oriented practice in the context of advanced practice in their clinical setting.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy used allows for the progressive development of knowledge and skills necessary for the student to meet the learning objectives of the unit. Students need to demonstrate their understanding of recovery theory and its integration into complex clinical contexts through a simulated practice example analysis. Second, students will participate in an online seminar presentation where they will present their understanding of theoretical, social and political context of recovery-based interventions in clinical practice by presenting an appraisal of the literature. The third assessment item will enable students to bring together the impact of their learning in this unit through a critical reflection on their ongoing learning and application of advanced recovery theory and practice in their clinical practice.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Simulated Practice Example Analysis

Enable students to demonstrate recovery theory and its integration into complex clinical contexts.


LO1, LO2

GA3, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA9

Assessment Task 2: Online Seminar Presentation

Duration: 30 minutes

Enable students to communicate their understanding of the theoretical, social and political context of recovery-based interventions in in clinical practice.


LO1, LO2, LO4

GA2, GA3, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA9

Assessment Task 3: Critical reflection

Enable students to demonstrate their ongoing professional development through a critical reflection of how advanced recovery theory has impacted on their professional practice.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA9

Representative texts and references

Bland, R., Renouf, N., & Tullgren, A. (2015). Social work practice in mental health. Allen & Unwin, Sydney.

Meadows, G., Grigg, M., Farhall J., McDermott F., Fossey, E., & Singh, B. (2012). Mental health in Australia: Collaborative community practice (3rd ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Wyder, M., Bland, R., Herriot, A., & Crompton, D. (2015). The experience of the legal processes of involuntary treatment orders: Tension between legal and medical frameworks. International Journal of Law and Mental Health, 38, 44-50.

Wyder, M., & Bland, R. (2014). The recovery framework as a way of understanding family’s response to mental illness: Balancing different needs and recovery journeys. Australian Social Work, 67(2), 179-196.

Tondora, J., Miller, R., Slade, M., Davidson, L. (2014). Partnering for recovery in mental health: A practical guide to person-centered planning. Wiley-Blackwell University Press.

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