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Title: Overcoming isolation : faith and social support in severe and enduring mental illness
Author: Dore, Timothy
ISNI:       0000 0004 5364 0079
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis presents three papers united by a common focus on the experiences of individuals with severe and enduring mental illness (SEMI). Chapter 1 presents a systematic review exploring befriending interventions for individuals with SEMI. Database searches identified 20 relevant studies; seven studies of volunteer befriending (VBF) and thirteen studies which used befriending control therapy (BCT) in trials of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). These studies were limited by methodological problems, particularly oversampling. Initial findings indicate that VBF provides increased social support but has little effect on clinical outcomes. When successful, VBF may provide increasing benefits over time. Studies investigating BCT found that it often performed comparably to CBT, indicating that BCT represents an active therapy rather than a control condition. These findings suggest that social support can have considerable benefits for individuals with SEMI. Chapter 2 presents an empirical study examining the experience of Christians diagnosed with psychosis. Semi-structured interviews with eight participants were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, producing two superordinate themes. The first theme describes participants’ struggle to find meaning and certainty amidst the confusion of psychotic illness. Participants described faith as both exacerbating and alleviating this confusion. The second theme describes participants’ search for acceptance from others. Participants described encountering unhelpful attitudes held by mental health professionals (MHPs) and other Christians, leaving them feeling devalued. By contrast, when professionals and Christians were accepting and supportive participants described feeling more fully human. This study highlights the importance of MHPs considering patients’ spiritual needs and suggests that Christians with psychosis may be a significantly marginalised and misunderstood group. Chapter 3 presents a reflective account of the researcher’s experiences in conducting the empirical study presented in Chapter 2. The focus of this paper is on the researcher’s experience of managing the roles of Psychologist, Researcher and Christian.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: RC Internal medicine