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This paper explores the dilemma faced by mental healthcare professionals in balancing treatment of mental disorders with promoting patient well-being and flourishing. With growing calls for a more explicit focus on patient flourishing in mental healthcare, we address two inter-related challenges: the lack of consensus on defining positive mental health and flourishing, and how professionals should respond to patients with controversial views on what is good for them. We discuss the relationship dynamics between healthcare providers and patients, proposing that 'liberal' approaches can provide a pragmatic framework to address disagreements about well-being in the context of flourishing-oriented mental healthcare. We acknowledge the criticisms of these approaches, including the potential for unintended paternalism and distrust. To mitigate these risks, we conclude by suggesting a mechanism to minimize the likelihood of unintended paternalism and foster patient trust.

Original publication




Journal article


Health Care Anal

Publication Date



Flourishing, Liberal approaches, Mental healthcare, Patient well-being, Shared-decision making, Values-based practice