The experience of the use of Community Treatment Orders following recovery-oriented practice training Academic Article uri icon


  • States across Australia are changing and adapting policy and laws to deliver mental health services using principles of personal recovery. Yet, the use of Community Treatment Orders (CTOs) remains high in apparent contradiction with this change. As part of the PULSAR trial investigating the outcomes of recovery oriented practice (ROP) training in primary and secondary care services within Metropolitan Melbourne, Victoria, a qualitative study was undertaken to explore the intersection between implementing ROP and working with consumers on CTOs. In-depth interviews were undertaken with consumers with experience being on CTOs and staff of secondary care services, and inductively analysed to identify themes. For consumers, being on a CTO meant lacking choice and control, an emphasis on medication, fear of the threat of hospitalisation, an absence of recovery oriented practice, and staying supported. For staff, recovery oriented practice in the presence of CTOs is challenging, with CTOs being seen to be a primary way to manage risk. Staff supported recovery as a practice, but identified a lack of organisational 'buy in' by services. The findings of this small scale study, embedded in a much larger study about ROP, support other literature that identifies implementing ROP in services that use CTOs as potentially problematic; and that ROP can enhance both consumers and staff experiences of services but, without systemic change, there may not be a significant shift in the use of CTOs, while CTOs also inhibit uptake of ROP.


  • Edan, Vrinda
  • Brophy, Lisa
  • Weller, Penelope June
  • Fossey, Ellie
  • Meadows, Graham

publication date

  • 2019