Agnete Neidel

Recovery-Orientation in Mental Health Social Services – Unfinished or Intertensional Business?

How does the ongoing recovery-orientation of mental health services affect everyday social work? And how does it in complex ways shape the «space of possibilities» that social workers as well as users act within? These are the guiding questions in the empirical analysis which this article offers insight into. The study behind this article shows how the attempts to move towards recovery-orientation are guided by a range of institutional imperatives, and that they tend to create a strong hierarchical focus on who «does it well» and who does not. Through analyses of concrete stories from social work practices, this study argues that the social work practices can be understood in more nuanced and complex ways with the concept of intertensionality. It is shown how the space of possibilities in mental health services are shaped by the intertensional relations between the «right practices» and the «wrong practices» appointed by the discourse of recovery-orientation.