The value of timelines is discussed with regard to the promotion of recovery, particularly emphasizing relapse signature and concordance in medicine-taking. Recovery approaches in contemporary mental health care rely on understanding motivations, aspirations and decision making. In the authors' experience timelines are a useful way of working together with people to make sense of experiences, of which they may only have partial or intermittent awareness. The mental health workers' philosophical approach, the tools available to them and their skills and attributes, shape the therapeutic relationship. Timelines are a useful tool in helping reach the kind of joint understanding within a therapeutic relationship which characterizes concordance. As this relationship develops, decision making including that around medicine-taking and relapse signature, can be based on this shared understanding. Timeline examples ( Tables 2 and 3) based on the fictitious experiences of Philip, a young man diagnosed with schizophrenia, show their application in recovery-focused practice. Further research is needed to enhance the limited evidence base underpinning timelines as a method of facilitating concordance.