What Is the Tidal Model®?

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  • Written By: Maggie J. Hall
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 07 April 2020
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The Tidal Model® is a patient-orientated recovery model used by mental health professionals. Psychiatric nurses and former patients designed this treatment modality. It is a type of interdisciplinary care that encourages patients to adopt an active approach to treatment. The Tidal Model® adapts to patients regardless of age and socioeconomic or cultural status.

Proponents of the nursing theory on which the Tidal Model® is based believe that conventional mental health practices often negate the individual's rights and options. There is a perception that health care professionals label patients by diagnosis and expect them to adhere to a specific treatment regimen, and the method of treatment largely depends on the particular diagnosis. Under the Tidal Model®, by allowing patients to convey their story, mental health professionals assist their patients back to wellness with support and treatment that accommodates their individual needs.

People frequently use language that incorporates descriptive metaphors to express situations or events. In keeping with this, Tidal Model® therapy equates the life journey to an ocean voyage. Along the way, the patient might experience storms, pirate encounters, or other devastating events which curtail his or her life. By discovering such events, health care professionals gain perspective into the causes of the patient's mental illness. By discussing these causes, patients and health care assistants work together to evaluate the patient's needs and allow healing to occur.


Patients take an active approach toward their recovery by freely describing events, explaining how the circumstances affected them personally, and relaying the meaning that these situations convey. Psychiatric nurses assist patients in understanding how to deal with or respond to these circumstances. Professionals also equip patients with the knowledge necessary to overcome disturbing situations and allow them to manage a personal plan of care.

The program generally includes 10 commitments to be used by the patients as a guide to mental health recovery. The Tidal Model® commitments define the importance of each patient as an individual. The steps also define the role of the professional involved in that patient's mental health care. The commitments explain the tools provided to individuals and health care staff that can assist in recovery and the development of a care plan.

Mental health nurses and other professionals believe that by using the Tidal Model® treatment method, patients begin the recovery process immediately. Conventional modalities usually begin after a person experiences a breakdown or crisis. Canada and many European countries generally accept the Tidal Model® treatment philosophy. The program's design allows it to be used in an individual or group setting and in both home care and acute care centers.


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