Karen Taylor

About Karen Taylor

Karen Taylor trained as a psychiatric nurse, and works with husband, Ron Coleman, providing innovative mental health training with and for agencies that wish to develop and implement recovery processes and practices within the statutory, voluntary and private sectors both in the UK and abroad.

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Karen Taylor is an RMN (Mental Health Nurse) with 16 years experience in the NHS in England with both older people and adults of working age. She has personal experience of designing, implementing and managing innovative community care services. After leaving the NHS, she managed the company ‘Keepwell Ltd’ for 2 years and ran a psychosis resolution service based on Recovery.

Karen has co-authored the workbook, ‘Working to Recovery’ and has also been involved in introducing recovery training into Australia, New Zealand, Palestine, Denmark and Italy as well as throughout the United Kingdom.

Based in Scotland, Karen is Director of Working to Recovery Ltd, alongside Ron Coleman. Karen and Ron are passionate that recovery is for all, including workers, and together they travel the world, telling their story of recovery and spreading a message based on hope, engaging with mental health services, carers and service users and challenging them to review their roles and embrace recovery for all.

Karen and Ron have pioneered recovery communities, and also have an online recovery college.

Karen says:

“We believe that it is time to add Communities of Recovery to how we define recovery. In developing these ideas, we have made a number of changes to how we operate as an organisation and see these changes as an essential component in creating the possibility of making recovery communities happen.

The first change has been in language – we do not do recovery based, focussed or orientated services. We just call it recovery work, we believe that by using words like based we give ourselves a way of not doing recovery work and instead of recovery being an outcome we turn it into an aspiration. This has become more apparent as the process of recovery has become colonised by medical thinking and practices which has in turn turned recovery into a form of super charged maintenance.

The second change has been in our role we no longer see our primary function as support rather our primary function is education. with the support function now becoming secondary still important but the support now is focussed around education rather than on a persons’ deficits. Our programs are therefore now all educative not social or clinical.

We believe in a nothing about us without us approach not only as a value but as a practice. We do not need an office and instead we have hot desks that anyone can use. We are after all a recovery education centre and I guess that means an educative approach but one that treats all including staff and managers and students exactly the same.”

Karen is also working towards the first UK nationally recognised qualification in person-centred and holistic spiritual care.

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