Toward positive psychosocial practice in psychosis: In pursuit of subjective wellbeing in severe mental ill-health


  • Pawel D. Mankiewicz National Health Service, UK



subjective wellbeing, positive psychosocial practice, positive clinical psychology, psychosis, severe mental ill-health


This article summarises and reflects on the scarce literature on the subject of positive psychosocial practice in the clinical specialism of complex and enduring mental health needs, such as psychosis. An attempt is made to demonstrate that such practice is not only achievable among individuals with severe psychological difficulties but, indeed, has already begun to develop, although it seems still in its infancy. The literature reviewed in this paper appears to indicate that a person with psychosis is as capable of experiencing subjective wellbeing as any other person in the general population. However, in order to promote wellbeing and sustained recovery among such individuals, a specialist psychosocial input needs to be delivered in a positive – that is integrative, person-based, collaborative, socially inclusive, and flow-inducing – manner. Furthermore, the article endeavours to demonstrate that in order to effect a fundamental shift in the perception of severe mental ill-health from a deficit-based and psychopathology-oriented stance toward a person-based and socially inclusive one, the principles of positive practice need to inform a wide range of clinical and social activities, including assessment, intervention, interpersonal reengagement and public policy development. It is nevertheless acknowledged that positive psychosocial approaches to psychosis are still in their infancy and relevant research studies remain considerably underrepresented, and in many aspects virtually non-existent. Hence, it is suggested that future research in positive clinical psychology within the specialty of complex, severe and enduring mental ill-health is actively encouraged and pursued by both clinicians and academics.


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