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Articles   |    
The Recovery Group Project: Development of an Intervention Led Jointly by Peer and Professional Counselors
Carla A. Green, Ph.D., M.P.H.; Shannon L. Janoff, M.P.H.; Bobbi Jo H. Yarborough, Psy.D.; Robert I. Paulson, Ph.D.
Psychiatric Services 2013; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201200546
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Dr. Green, Ms. Janoff, and Dr. Yarborough are with the Center for Health Research, Science Programs Division, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, 3800 N. Interstate Ave., Portland, OR 97227-1110 (e-mail: carla.a.green@kpchr.org). Dr. Paulson is professor emeritus at the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, University of South Florida, Tampa.

Copyright © 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association


Objective  The objective of this study was to develop and evaluate a low-cost, strengths-based group intervention led jointly by peer counselors and professional counselors to foster recovery among adults with serious mental illnesses.

Methods  Cohort 1 included development of materials and a feasibility pilot, with participants recruited from community mental health centers (CMHCs). Cohorts 2 and 3 included a small randomized controlled trial with participants recruited from members of a not-for-profit, integrated health plan. Cohorts 4 and 5 involved evaluation of the most appropriate length for the intervention with a pre-post design that allowed intervention length to vary between 12 and 18 sessions; participants and peer leaders were recruited from two CMHCs (N=82).

Results  Participants were very satisfied with the recovery-focused group intervention, preferred a greater number of weekly sessions (17 or 18 sessions), and reported improved outcomes across multiple domains.

Conclusions  Using peer-developed materials and a combination of peer and professional counselors as group leaders is feasible to offer and valuable to participants. Outcomes measures suggest that the intervention has potential to facilitate recovery in multiple domains.

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Anchor for Jump
Table 1Sociodemographic characteristics of participants with serious mental illness in the recovery group projecta
Table Footer Note

a The question about age was inadvertently omitted from the questionnaire for cohort 1, although cohort 1 participants appeared to be of ages similar to those in the other cohorts. Mean±SD age was 44.2±9.8 for cohorts 2 and 3 and 47.2±11.9 for cohorts 4 and 5.

Table Footer Note

b SSI, Supplemental Security Income; SSDI, Social Security Disability Insurance

Anchor for Jump
Table 2Changes over time among recovery group participants, by cohort
Table Footer Note

a W-QLI, Wisconsin Quality of Life Index; RAS, Recovery Assessment Scale; BASIS, 24-item Behavior and Symptom Identification Scale

Table Footer Note

b There were no significant changes from baseline to follow-up 1 in the delayed-intervention control group.

Table Footer Note

c There were no significant changes from follow-up 1 to follow-up 2 in the intervention group.



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