Facilitating recovery by making sense of suffering: a Nietzschean perspective

Marc Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


One of the most challenging figures in the history of ideas, the 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, exerts a powerful and enduring influence over modern thought. Indeed, while those working in the healthcare professions may have traditionally found Nietzsche's work largely inaccessible, there is now an emerging body of healthcare research that seeks to elucidate and explore the relevance of his ideas for the healthcare professions generally, and for the theory and practice of nursing in particular. Accordingly, this paper will seek to contribute to this emerging body of research by suggesting that Nietzsche's work can be employed to provide a productive understanding of how recovery from mental illness can be facilitated, and it will attempt to do this by focusing on what is arguably Nietzsche's most seemingly obscure notion, namely, the ‘eternal return’. In particular, by drawing upon contemporary research into the concept and experience of recovery, the paper will suggest that the discovery of new meaning is central to that process and that, this being so, Nietzsche's notion of the eternal return can provide a productive theoretical framework that can be employed by mental health professionals to orientate and guide therapeutic interventions towards that end.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-17
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Hope and hopelessness
  • Mental health
  • Philosophy
  • Recovery
  • Theory development


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