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Seclusion and restraints not recovery-oriented care (USA)

January 12, 2012

The Copeland Centre, known for the development of the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), has released a new position paper calling for the elimination and/or reduction of seclusion and restraints in psychiatric services.

This paper states that seclusion (defined as involuntary confinement alone in a room) and restraints (referring to all physical and chemical restraint methods) are counter to a recovery-oriented system. They are not, as is the historical view, a therapeutic practice; rather they are seen as a way for staff to maintain control, exercise punishment, and are used as a convenience.

The Copeland Centre is actively undertaking to create a cultural shift in the psychiatric field that will result in the use of alternative methods of treatment, such as peer support services and the use of recovery treatment plans written by the service user. To this end, they have been involved in conducting training and providing educational resources to professionals and policy makers.

Numerous initiatives are underway to support these efforts, such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grants to institutions that show a reduction in the use of seclusion and restraints, as well as the publication of a training curriculum geared at reducing and/or eliminating the use of these methods.

See, “Position paper on the elimination of seclusion, restraints, force and coercion,” available at

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