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Therapeutic risk-taking: A justifiable choice

  • Anne Felton, Nicola Wright and Gemma Stacey


Taking risks is a fundamental part of the human experience that supports personal growth. Therapeutic risk-taking enables patients to make decisions about their level of safety and to pursue goals. Promoting therapeutic risk-taking can be complex. Professionals can experience tension striving for a balance between the interests of the individual and societal pressures to control risk. This article examines therapeutic risk-taking, recognising the challenges to supporting it in practice and debating how they may be overcome.

Learning Objectives

• Be able to explain what therapeutic risk-taking is and discuss its application to psychiatric practice

• Understand the factors that challenge and enable therapeutic risk-taking in psychiatric practice

• Describe the association between therapeutic risk-taking and recovery

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Corresponding author

Correspondence Dr Anne Felton, Institute of Mental Health Building, University of Nottingham Innovation Park, Triumph Road, Nottingham NG7 2TU, UK. Email:


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The language used to describe people who use mental health services is contested, with the preferred term often in a state of flux. The term ‘patient’ has been used throughout this article.

Declaration of Interest




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Therapeutic risk-taking: A justifiable choice

  • Anne Felton, Nicola Wright and Gemma Stacey


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Therapeutic risk-taking: A justifiable choice

  • Anne Felton, Nicola Wright and Gemma Stacey
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