Randomised Controlled Trial into the TRP

Efficacy of the Rediscovery Process on Alcohol Use, Impulsivity and Flourishing: A Preliminary Randomised Controlled Study and Preliminary Cohort Study
Phil Parker, Samantha Banbury and Chris Chandler

Published online: 1 October, 2020

Volume 4, Article 13


Background: Despite developing interest in treatments encouraging flourishing in Substance Use Disorder there is little research on their efficacy.

Methods: A preliminary randomised controlled study (wait-list or immediate intervention) (n=72) and cohort study (n= 60) evaluated outcomes in alcohol misusers of The Rediscovery Process (TRP), a flourishing focussed approach, compared to treatment as usual (TAU). Alcohol use, flourishing, impulsivity and recovery capital were analysed pre-, 1 and 3-month postintervention.

Results: The studies found TRP significantly decreased alcohol use and impulsivity, and increased flourishing and some elements of recovery capital, compared to TAU and these changes were maintained at 1 and 3-months post-intervention, compared to pre-intervention.

Discussion: Therefore TRP, compared to TAU, significantly improves a range of important alcohol misuse outcomes that are maintained over the 3-month period.

Conclusions: These results help bridge the gap between addressing the psychopathology in substance use and the recent interest in increasing flourishing.

Keywords: Positive psychology; flourishing; recovery capital; alcohol use; impulsivity.

Qualitative study

Self-control or Flourishing? A Thematic Analysis of Experiences of Alcohol Users of The Rediscovery Process

Phil Parker, Samantha Banbury and Lisa de Rijk

Full paper can be found here

There is a developing interest in recovery-based approaches, positive psychology and the importance of flourishing in alcohol use disorders (AUD). However, there has been little research into approaches that focus on flourishing in AUD and some concerns have been raised that this new focus will supplant or conflict with the existing impulsivity-reducing approaches, creating poorer alcohol use outcomes. The study addressed research questions on how the approach was adopted and valued by participants, how it compared to other approaches, how aware participants were of changes in recovery capital and positive psychology-focused concepts, such as flourishing or impulsivity. A thematic analysis (TA) evaluated the experiences of participants with harmful alcohol regarding the efficacy and acceptability of The Rediscovery Process, a brief, recovery-focused approach for AUD designed to support flourishing and address impulsivity issues. The TA identified two main themes (1) control and (2) flourishing and many participants noted differences between this approach and others and the majority found the intervention effective in reducing alcohol use. This study helps bridge the gap between the more traditional focus of addressing the psychopathology and approaches developing flourishing in AUD and the wider implications are discussed.


The major themes of control and flourishing and the range of participants’ responses, highlight how the intervention appears to work on many levels, from changing behaviours to shifting ones’ sense of self, although these changes were not experienced by all respondents. Similarities and differences, particularly in the speed of change, were reported between this intervention and those that had been previously tried by the participants—some aspects of these were positively regarded and others were found confusing or difficult to integrate. The analysis also supports the growing evidence that psychopathology and PP-based approaches have a wide common area of interest, and as both appear to provide the ability to affect similar processes essential for sustained change in AUD, a developing relationship between the two would be of value for those with AUD

Association Study

Association between impulsivity and flourishing in Substance Use Disorders (SUD): bridging the gap between pathology focused psychology and positive psychology?

Introduction: Impulsivity is identified with the development and maintenance of substance use disorders (SUD). Although Barratt originally theorised it to be a relatively static trait, addressing impulsivity has been an important SUD treatment aim. The continuing poor outcomes for those in treatment has raised interest in recovery-based and Positive Psychology interventions (PPI) to SUD and the importance of flourishing. There has been concern that this might supplant impulsivity reducing approaches, however little is known about how flourishing and impulsivity interrelate in SUD. This paper reviewed the literature and evaluated that relationship in two clinical studies. It concludes that there is an absence of reported research as to how impulsivity and flourishing interrelate in SUD and identified a strong to moderate, significant negative association between changes in impulsivity and flourishing in those with SUD, a finding that had not been previously reported. These findings add weight to the argument that impulsivity may be a more dynamic entity than originally theorised and may suggest a route for integration of more pathology focused psychology and Positive Psychology approaches to SUD.

Keywords: Flourishing, impulsivity, substance use, addiction, positive psychology

Phil Parker

Volume 3, Article 3

Published on 23rd July, 2019

Systematic Review

By Parker, Banbury and Chandler, 2018, into the Utility of Measuring Flourishing in Substance Use is published in the European Journal of Positive Psychology 

Pilot study

In 2013 a 6 month pilot of the Rediscovery Process was delivered in Tower Hamlets Community Drug Team (CDT).  Data was collected together with feedback from focus groups and case studies (full Pilot data can be found here).

Summary of data

All community clients that took TRP and were followed up made changes in their drug usage and in their lives.

The vast majority sought and gained employment, enrolled as students or took on volunteering positions

They also reported positive changes in their interpersonal relationships and self-esteem levels.

Two sets of figures from the data stand out as a good guide to the effects of the TRP:

1) Out of 20 clients using, the TOP forms showed that 11 (55%) had reduced and 7 (35%) had stopped their drug/alcohol use (90% in total).

2) Pre TRP only 3 of the 22 (14%) were in employment (or seeking work), education or volunteering data; post TRP this had increased to 18 (73%).


We believe these outcomes demonstrate the intention of TRP well: that through teaching self-empowerment strategies that are effective and simple to apply, the TRP can help individuals to rebuild their internal and external recovery capital, and make sustainable change to their drug or alcohol use.