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Recovery is often described as a process, an outlook, a vision or a guiding principle. There is no single definition for recovery. Rather, recovery is a holistic approach focusing on a person, not the symptoms. The Recovery Model, a healing process, empowers a patient with substance abuse, mental illness and/or developmental disabilities and shows them that recovery is attainable.

Through the Recovery Model, people realize that although they may not have full control over their symptoms, they do have control over their lives. Recovery asserts that a person with psychiatric disabilities can achieve not only affective stability and social rehabilitation, but transcend limits imposed by both mental illness and social barriers to achieve their highest goals.

The Recovery Model provides a framework for understanding a person's mental illness and then serves as a working system of care providing support and opportunities for personal development. A recovery-oriented system of care identifies and builds upon each individual's assets, strengths, and areas of health and competence to support achieving a sense of mastery over his or her condition while regaining a meaningful, constructive, sense of membership in the broader community.

The Recovery Model promotes higher levels of personal and family involvement for each individual program. Thus, each program requires a higher levels of commitment, helping people work harder through active participation in their own program. Through active participation from family, professionals and the community, achieving personal goals becomes a top priority and higher likelihood of success.