Project Details

A project completed in 2015, undertaken by University of Otago, Wellington, to provide information about addiction (in particular recovery from addiction) from the service user perspective to medical students and health professional students by piloting a new online educational resource.


The main aims of the project were to:

  • develop an online educational resource for learning about addiction directly from people who have experienced it
  • help medical students and health professionals understand the psychological, social and cultural drivers of addiction, so that they feel better equipped to help those in need
  • provide a useful learning tool for anyone with an interest in recovery from addiction.


The project methodology involved:

  • digitally recording interviews with a small number of service users focusing on what motivated them to change, what recovery means for them, and what helped and/or hindered them in recovery
  • common themes being identified and, where consent was granted, illustrated with selected audio/video clips and corresponding transcripts.


university of otago

Rachel Tester

Principal Investigator

University of Otago, Wellington
university of otago

Dr Helen Moriarty

University of Otago, Wellington
university of otago

Dr Maria Stubbe

University of Otago, Wellington




$0.00 (excl GST)

Key Findings

The key findings from the project included:

  • The analysis has characterised important areas of service user / provider dissonance regarding addiction recovery. The dichotomy is especially poignant since many service providers also have a service user background.
  • Significant areas of common ground were also identified regarding how people with addiction issues can be more effectively supported towards health and well-being. For example, wider access to treatment for psychological trauma; more preventative work; more time / resources to develop and maintain a therapeutic relationship between service users and providers.

Key Recommendations

The key recommendations from the project included:

Implications for practice or policy | Recovery should be defined by service users, not service providers, including exactly what they are seeking to recover from; clinical goals should be based on service users’ recovery goals; management plans should include the client’s own recovery goals; progress towards and changes in recovery goals should be reviewed throughout an episode of care; service drivers such as reportable outcome measures and service integration should better reflect the recovery goals of service users.

Implications for translational research | The findings will be used to inform development of an educational intervention to improve professional knowledge and attitudes toward addiction and recovery.


SUMMARY OF VIDEOS Demystifying Addiction through Personal Stories

Demystifying Addiction through Personal Stories: A summary of video clips.

(PDF 80 KB, 1-page).

  • 15 November 2012
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Demystifying Addiction Reflective Questionnaire

Demystifying Addiction through Personal Stories: A reflective questionnaire to accompany the video clips.

(PDF 35 KB, 1-page).

  • 15 November 2012
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Recovery Perspectives

A poster developed by Rachel Tester, Helen Moriarty and Maria Stubbe.

(PDF, 1.31 MB, 1-page).

  • 15 November 2012
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