Illness Management & Recovery (IMR)

The Illness Management and Recovery (IMR) program is an evidence-based practice that consists of a series of weekly sessions in which practitioners assist people who have lived experience of psychiatric symptoms develop personal strategies for coping with situations that may arise during the recovery process.  In addition to learning information and strategies, all participants in the IMR practice develop and work on a personally meaningful recovery goal.

IMR practitioners are trained in and utilize intervention strategies that enhance learning and facilitate application of skills outside the actual sessions.  Strategies include: stage wise interventions, motivational enhancement, CBT, and a number of creative educational strategies. The program can be provided in individual or group formats, most often in a group setting to encourage interpersonal learning, create an environment that fosters growth and empowerment, and promote social connections.  It generally takes anywhere from 6-18 months to complete all the materials when practicing in an IMR group.

As the first agency of its kind to implement IMR in residential programs, our experience now extends to multiple programs, and hundreds of staff who are trained in IMR techniques.  We have adapted the IMR practice for use with Adolescents.  Our menu of IMR training and consultation services ranges from one-time consultation to extensive staff training, program development and monitoring.


Program Development 

Our consultants have extensive experience planning and implementing successful new programming and can help you avoid many common problems.  Examples of consultation related to program development include:

• Supervision/consultation on group leadership and the IMR practice
• Plan for program transition to the IMR treatment model
• Create customized IMR systems that suit your clientele and program goals
• Integrate IMR practice into CBFS programming

Program Assessment

Tracking treatment effectiveness and outcomes is an important component of providing IMR. The challenge is developing a data collection process that is simple and useful. Our consultants are experienced in identifying, tracking and analyzing empirical data, and can help you select specific assessment instruments to measure treatment outcomes.


All of our IMR trainings are highly interactive, hands-on learning experiences that include small group discussions, activities and role play. Each participant will have the opportunity to practice the IMR skills and will co-lead a mock IMR group.


Introduction to IMR
This training gives you an overview regarding IMR methods, applications and benefits to agency leaders and funders who may be considering investing in this method.

Intensive Training Series
This intensive training is designed for mental health professionals and program staff to learn in-depth the skills and strategies essential for providing IMR individually and in groups. 

Customized Trainings
Customized trainings target the unique needs of residential, clinical, educational, or other staff to optimize effective delivery of services and treatment.


Kerrin Westerlind, LICSW, Assistant Director of Evidence Based Practice at Open Sky Community Services, has been an IMR practitioner since 2005. Ms. Westerlind has overseen the implementation of IMR services in residential and supported housing programs with diverse populations, including individuals who are dually diagnosed with a mental health and a substance use disorder.

Additionally, Ms. Westerlind has training and leadership experience in implementing multiple emerging modalities for treating psychosis, including CBT for Psychosis and Recovery Oriented Cognitive Therapy (CT-R).

Ms. Westerlind has provided training and consultation to the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, Advocates, Inc., The Edinburg Center, Community Healthlink, Alternatives Unlimited. Outside of Massachusetts, she has provided training and consultation to the Community Research Foundation of San Diego, CA; Preferred Alternatives of Fayetteville, NC; Central Wyoming Counseling Center of Casper, WY; and the Loudoun County Department of MHSADS of Loudoun County, VA.

She has presented on IMR at National Conferences, including US Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association.

Ms. Westerlind was the recipient of The Edinburg Center Shining Star award in 2016 and the recipient of the Association for Behavioral Healthcare Provider Recognition Award for Best Practices in 2010.

Ms. Westerlind has been a member of the Data Safety Review Board for the Collaborative Pathway Implementation Project, 2012-2018. And is a member of the MassPRA Board since 2018 and the MassPRA Training and Education Committee since fall of 2017.

Her experience in the mental health field includes 20 years of work in a range of settings from residential, supported housing, day treatment, outpatient, community-based flexible support services and clubhouse.

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