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‘Absolutely not!’ Contextual values and equality of voices in mental health
  1. K W M Fulford1,
  2. David Crepaz-Keay2
  1. 1St Catherine’s College, The Collaborating Centre for Values-based Practice in Health and Social Care, Oxford, UK
  2. 2Empowerment and Social Inclusion, Mental Health Foundation, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Prof K W M Fulford, St. Catherine’s College, The Collaborating Centre for Values-based Practice in Health and Social Care, Oxford OX1 3UJ, UK; kwm.fulford{at}philosophy.ox.ac.uk

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Marie Stenlund’s careful reading of values-based practice and her demonstration of its links with Martha Nussbaum’s Capabilities Framework are innovative theoretically and have potentially important implications for policy and practice in mental health. As she indicates the two approaches converge in a number of key respects. Notably, both recognise the diversity of individual human values. This diversity crucially underpins contemporary person-centred conceptions of recovery in mental health based on quality of life as defined by reference to the values of (to what is important from the perspective of) the person concerned rather than that of a generic professional ‘needs assessment’.1 2

Where the two theories diverge, too, Stenlund finds practically important consequences. Thus Nussbaum’s Capabilities Framework, as Stenlund indicates, is outcomes-oriented, while values-based practice focuses on process. The two approaches are not however thereby necessarily inconsistent. Drawing on early accounts of values-based practice (from 2006 and 2009), Stenlund suggests a degree of implicit blurring between it and Nussbaum’s capabilities. Here we need to be careful: values-based practice does not (as Stenlund suggests) regard recovery as an outcome; it …

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