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SOS: a relational orientation towards social inclusion

Sally Denham‐Vaughan (Co‐founders of Relational Change, London, UK)
Marie‐Anne Chidiac (Co‐founders of Relational Change, London, UK)

Mental Health and Social Inclusion

ISSN: 2042-8308

Article publication date: 24 May 2013



Relational approaches have become fashionable in a variety of areas from organisational to clinical interventions, however the practical implications of such approaches are still misunderstood. This paper aims to define what we mean by “relational” and explores how understanding and practising a specific type of relational approach is necessary to truly promote social inclusion and recovery. Design/methodology/approach – A hypothetical case study is described giving a practical illustration of how a relational approach would be used in the context of the provision of socially inclusive mental health services.


The paper makes the case for a relational and socially inclusive approach to change. A three‐pronged “SOS” model calling attention to the exploration of Self, Other and Situation is outlined. Most importantly, the model attempts to balance the complex and varying needs of clients, others and the wider situation/community/organisation, as opposed to primarily focussing on individual “fault/lack”.

Research limitations/implications

The paper relies on self‐report methods from a relatively small number of individuals.


The paper challenges a still predominant individualistic paradigm to change. Instead it suggests the need to redirect attention to clients’ existing relational supports to effect quicker and more sustainable change.



Denham‐Vaughan, S. and Chidiac, M. (2013), "SOS: a relational orientation towards social inclusion", Mental Health and Social Inclusion, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 100-107.



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