Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

Monash University

12 points, SCA Band 2, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

Eastern Health Clinical School


Dr Michael Savic


Not offered in 2016


Recovery is a new area of research within the fields of addiction and mental health but one that has gained considerable policy and practice debate in the US, UK and Australia, and that is closely linked to the desistance movement in criminal justice. This unit explores what is known so far, what the key issues are in this area, and arguments around the definition of recovery, and the merits of a recovery approach, with its origins in positive psychology, mutual aid and the patient empowerment movement. The aim of the unit is to introduce the concepts and philosophy of recovery, the evidence base as it stands to date and the challenges it poses to current interpretations of existing models, in particular expert-driven treatment.
Students completing this unit should be able to argue for their own conceptualisation of recovery in light of available evidence, and apply their view of recovery to current policy and practice. They will also be able to critically appraise the risks and benefits of a recovery model and be able to outline its impact for addiction, criminal justice and mental health policy and practice.


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

  1. Synthesise and critique the rationale and history of the recovery movement
  2. Synthesise the origins of the recovery movement across key countries (Australia, UK, US) and between addiction and mental health fields in each of these settings
  3. Critically review the definitions of recovery that have been advanced and summarise the strengths and weaknesses of each, from a practice and from a policy perspective
  4. Analyse the role of mutual aid and peer empowerment in the recovery movement and offer a critical analysis of the evidence for mutual aid groups, in particular 12-step groups
  5. Critically review the research methods and evidence models most appropriate within a recovery paradigm
  6. Critically appraise the appeal and risks of the recovery movement to policy makers and its potential role implications for specialist treatment service provision
  7. Summarise and critically appraise the strength of the evidence base for recovery as a viable paradigm and its implications for service delivery, and commissioning recovery-oriented systems of care.
  8. Summarise the innovations from the desistance movement in criminology and review its applicability to the addiction and mental health recovery movements.


Participation in online discussion (Hurdle)
A critical appraisal (written) (2,500 words) (20%)
Essay (written) (3,500 words) (30%)
Long essay (written) (6,000 words) (50%)

Workload requirements

Students enrolling in ASC5007 will be expected to contact the unit coordinator(s) regularly throughout the semester and participate in online discussions with fellow students and academic staff. Students should expect to spend around 24 hours a week of self-directed learning. This includes accessing online lectures, podcasts and resources as well as participating in forum discussions questions and quizzes via Moodle in addition to conducting offline independent study such as reading, research and writing activities.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Addiction studies, Behavioural studies, Psychology, Mental health.