Office of Mental Health
Research & Training
Pathways to Recovery:
A Strengths Recovery Self-Help Workbook
Before I heard of Pathways, my mental illness defined me. When I started the workbook, I realized my recovery defined me. By the time I finished it, I realized I could define my own life.”
~ Pathways Reader
This quote by a reader of Pathways to Recovery points to the impact the workbook—and its accompanying group facilitator’s guide—continue to have for individuals who experience symptoms associated with mental illnesses. Now in its sixth printing, the workbook has developed a strong and loyal following. In 2003, Pathways was listed as one of the top three national recovery education tools by the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation and it received the Lilly Reintegration Award in 2009. It has also been widely used by the U.S. Veteran’s Administration, several state Departments of Mental Health and a wide variety of consumer-run organizations. Individual readers, family members, peer support workers and other mental health providers throughout the United States and internationally have used the workbook with great success.
Working in partnership with recovery educators, consumer co-authors and an advisory group of Kansas consumers to develop the materials, Pathways to Recovery translates the evidence-supported approach of the Strengths Model—an approach developed in Kansas and that has been used effectively for over twenty years worldwide—into a person-centered, self-help approach. The Strengths Model has proven successful in reducing psychiatric hospitalization, allowing people to set and achieve person goals and, in turn, improve one’s quality of life. Pathways to Recovery puts the process of setting goals and creating personal recovery plans into a self-guided format.
The workbook doesn’t concentrate on psychiatric symptoms, treatments or disorders. Instead, the book guides readers through a process of exploring their own recovery journey while creating a long-range vision for their lives. The workbook format guides individuals to explore their current lives and set goals across ten life domains that include creating a home, learning, working, nurturing a social circle, intimacy and sexuality, wellness, leisure and spirituality. In 2006, the Pathways to Recovery Group Facilitator’s Guide was completed to provide guidelines for small group sessions, especially within a peer-to-peer model.
Unique Features of Pathways to Recovery
Here are a few of the unique elements of Pathways to Recovery:
- Pathways promotes recovery in many areas of life
including the elements of home, education, finding work,
exploring relationships and supports, health and wellness,
recreation, sexuality and intimacy and spirituality.
- The workbook includes over 30 first-person accounts of
recovery and provides inspirational guidelines so readers can
create and share their own stories.
- In addition to individual use—as a self-help guide, with a
case manager, therapist or other provider—Pathways was
designed to be adaptable for many different group settings. The
workbook is currently used as a foundation for peer support
training, in hospital groups, as a text for introductory mental
health courses and within family advocacy groups.
- Pathways was recognized in 2003 as
one of the three top recovery resources by the Center for
Psychiatric Rehabilitation. In 2009, the workbook received the
Lilly Reintegration Award from as the first place winner in
the education category.
- Although created in Kansas, the workbook is being used in
all 50 U.S. states and across the globe.
- Excerpts from Pathways to Recovery: A Strengths-Based Self-Help Workbook