Building from the ground up: exploring forensic mental health staff’s relationships with patients [2018]

Recovery-orientated care is becoming generally accepted as the best practice, and continued development in the ways it is practiced is necessary to ensure improvement of ongoing care. Forensic patients often experience double stigmatization (the dual stigma of mental illness and offending behaviour) and during admission to hospital may lose touch with their community supports. While working through their personal recovery, patients develop therapeutic relationships with their multidisciplinary team members. When positive, these relationships can enhance a patient’s recovery. Clinical staff members participated in 88 in-depth interviews, which were transcribed, reviewed, and analysed using thematic analysis. From analysing the data, main themes and subthemes emerged related to staff’s perceptions of therapeutic relationships. When developing relationships, staff need to overcome receptiveness issues by increasing trust through understanding their preconceptions, reducing stigma, sharing innocuous stories, and giving patients the time they need. The key pillar underpinning all traits ascribed to patients and staff is collaboration and approaching treatment protocols with a social approach is essential to enhancing recovery. Staff shared a holistic view of recovery that incorporated the benefits of positive relationships and the need to create a sense of home within the institution.

Lisa A. Marshall & E. A. Adams

The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 13 Aug 2018