Discursive Processes Creating Team Culture and Recovery Orientation among Housing First Providers

Stacey L. Barrenger, Victoria Stanhope, Kendall Atterbury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A recovery orientation is imperative in mental health services. While structural aspects of programs can influence service providers orientation to recovery principles, team culture as exemplified by staff attitudes, values, and beliefs is central to the incorporation of recovery principles in everyday practice. Using Fine's (1979) idioculture framework, this study examined the discursive process in team meetings at a housing first program. Researchers observed team meetings and conducted in-depth, semistructured interviews with case managers from two assertive community treatment teams. Open coding identified categories indicating discursive processes grounded in the recovery language and higher-level coding derived intersubjective themes related to the use of recovery oriented culture during team meetings. Discursive processes included giving benefit of the doubt, withholding judgment, celebrating small things, and accentuating the positive and softening the negative. Using these discursive practices, the team navigated triggering events from landlords and providers by engaging in language that defused situations, normalized behaviors, and recognized residents successes, which served to facilitate positive discussions about residents rather than pathologizing their behaviors. Understanding the underlying processes contributing to team culture can inform and facilitate the implementation of recovery-oriented practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-264
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2015


  • Ethnographic methods
  • Housing First
  • Recovery orientation
  • Teamculture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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