Aim: To understand the subjective factors involved in the recovery process following a first-episode psychosis.
Method: Sixteen individuals from a First Episode Program in São Paulo, Brazil were evaluated by a semistructured interview designed to elicit an in-depth narrative of participants' subjective experience of recovery after a first-episode psychosis. Eligibility was established by using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders. The interviews were recorded, the transcripts were coded and themes were grouped together to form conceptual categories.
Results: The participants described the recovery course as a slow and gradual process. Improvement was perceived as based on a decrease or absence of psychotic symptoms, changes in social relationships, renewed autonomy and independence, and restoration of self-reliance and trust in others.
Conclusions: Recovering after a first-episode psychosis can be considered a complex process correlated with treatment, social support, and individual experiences and characteristics. These are important areas to be addressed in first psychotic psychosis interventions, and gains can probably only be obtained in specialized first-episode psychosis programmes.