For more than four decades, people with lived experience of mental health concerns have been redefining the concept of recovery. No longer just synonymous with cure, recovery is understood in contemporary terms as a personal journey; a process. This process is known as personal recovery. A desire to work in alignment with the principles of personal recovery, while exploring the ways in which the phenomenon of safety is understood by people who have experienced acute mental health inpatient admission, led the authors to apply the research approach known as phenomenography. The aim of this paper is to propose the ways in which phenomenography and the principles of personal recovery align. The philosophy, characteristics and processes of phenomenography and of personal recovery are compared.