The Center

Psychiatric Rehabilitation – Readiness Development

Updated:  June 21, 2006

Lack of motivation is one of the most common concerns practitioners cite among recipients of mental health services. In the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Approach, Readiness Development is a service strategy embarked upon when an individual lacks motivation, hope or confidence to pursue rehabilitation and participate in a process of choosing and preparing to function in a new life role. In this situation, a Readiness Assessment reveals that although a considerable need for change exists, low levels of awareness along with a lack of commitment to change represent barriers to proceeding with an informed goal setting process. Although individuals may be extremely dissatisfied with a current situation (living, learning, working or social) or may be experiencing a great deal of pressure to make a change, feelings about change are ambivalent: individuals may not be convinced that change is necessary; they may not believe that they themselves have the ability to change; they may be unable to imagine the benefits of change; or they may doubt the existence of people to support them in working toward change. Hesitancy toward change often stems from low levels of confidence, poor self- esteem and hopelessness. Without confidence and hope for the future it is exceedingly difficult for someone to acquire and sustain the motivation needed to undertake a change in environmental role. This is where Readiness Development fits in – it is a strategy designed to help people develop the confidence and the drive to invest in psychiatric rehabilitation, a process of choosing, getting and keeping a meaningful life role.

Two methods are used in Readiness Development to overcome motivational barriers and enhance feelings of hope, confidence and motivation: developing insights and developing supports.

Acquiring knowledge and developing insights about a range of issues including self, environmental options such as places to live or work, recovery from mental illness, psychiatric rehabilitation and other mental heath services and supports, can help individuals feel more optimistic about the future. In this process, recipients participate in individually tailored experiences that are informative, educational, inspiring, encouraging and confidence-inducing. Experiences are carefully crafted to address readiness barriers identified during the assessment phase, to address the recipient’s learning style thereby increasing participation, and to help recipients acquire new and positive information that they were previously unaware of or did not fully understand. Information is processed with the recipient to facilitate a link between what has been learned and what this information means to the individual.

Developing supports is an approach used when the individual and practitioner have identified that a perceived lack of support is a hindrance to moving forward and staying involved in psychiatric rehabilitation. This process entails identifying, defining and putting into place credible and committed natural supports that the recipient believes will be helpful.

Depending upon the individual, Readiness Development as a strategy can differ in intensity and scope, including involvement in one or multiple activities, extending from weeks to months. What distinguishes this strategy from the activities many recipients have traditionally engaged is the extent to which activities reflect individual need and preference, the degree to which information gleaned from experiences is analyzed and tied to personal insight, and the level at which recipients are immersed in activities designed to increase motivation. No different from other strategies in psychiatric rehabilitation, the recipient is involved to the greatest extent possible in every facet of this work, from selecting insight building activities and how they would best be delivered, to determining who could act as a vital support. For the person who is without hope and motivation, readiness exercises serve to prepare someone for the next stage of psychiatric rehabilitation - choosing a valued role - with more clarity, insight and confidence.