Mark Ragins: Village Recovery Writings

Recovery-based psychiatrist Mark Ragins has an extraordinary collection of personal writing known as the Village Recovery Writings. Dr Mark worked for 27 years as the Medical Director at the MHALA Village in Long Beach, California, an award-winning model of recovery-based mental health care.

His writings are organised into six sections—the number in parentheses indicates the number of articles that Mark wrote for that section:

  1. Personal Transformation  (6)
  2. Creating a Recovery Vision (7)
  3. Applying Recovery to Daily Challenges (57)
  4. Building and Improving a Recovery Based Program (10)
  5. Spreading Recovery Based Personal Transformation (6)
  6. Spreading Recovery Based System Transformation (36)

Yes, a total of 122 articles on recovery-related topics. Extraordinary man! I can’t pretend to have read them all, but here are links to some favourites:

Hope and Schizophrenia (1992)
Like everyone else my personal transformation began with hope.

The Four Walls (1998)
A shorthand view of four walls to break down to become recovery oriented, useful for handouts.

A Road to Recovery (2002)
My short book about recovery with the four stages, lots of stories, and practice implications.

Person Centered vs. Illness Centered (2006)
The most important transformation in the recovery model is from illness centered to person centered; both for values and practice.

Mark’s Goal Setting Ideas (2000)
Concrete guidelines for case managers helping people set goals and grow.

Ten Life lessons in Becoming an Effective Trauma Therapist (2013)
A set of approaches to meet the personal challenges and transformations needed to effectively work with trauma.

An Overview of the Village (1990-2008)
A lengthy overview of the history, structure, design, values, and funding of the Village.

20 Lessons of the Village (1991)
A short, still list of pragmatic lessons learned in the past year.

What’s Really Different about Recovery? A Personal Commentary about the Transformation Process (2005)
A description trying to figure out how to motivate staff to learn about and do recovery-based practice.

Up Close and Personal: A Plea for Emotional Closeness with Patients (2004)
A raw and confrontative discussion about why we stay emotionally distant from the people we’re trying to help.

Wish List of Broken Rules (2004)
A list of changes in administrative “rules” that would remove barriers and promote becoming a recovery based system.

A Guide for Recovery-Oriented Leaders (2005)
A brief overview of the four values – hope, authority, healing, and community integration – we use in our recovery oriented leadership workshops.