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Title: Hidden talents : mental health professionals explore their lived experiences of mental health challenges in the workplace : an interpretative phenomenological analysis
Author: Gough, Harriet
ISNI:       0000 0004 5994 0566
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2016
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Background: Lived experience of mental health conditions is becoming valued within mainstream mental health service delivery. This is reflected in the rising employment of Peer Support Workers (PSWs) to support and enhance clients’ recovery. However, the lived experience of mental health professionals has been spuriously overlooked in the literature. To date, no studies have explored the influence of lived experience on professionals’ roles, identity, work relationships, or its potential clinical utility to enhance clients’ recovery. Methodology: This study uses Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to explore the views and reflections of mental health professionals with their own lived experience of mental health challenges. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted on NHS premises. Data was transcribed and subject to in-depth interpretative analysis by the researcher. Results: Five superordinate themes emerged from the data: “Lived Experience Informs Practice” reveals how having a greater understanding, empathy, and limited self-disclosure enriches the therapeutic relationship; “Stigma” shows that all participants have experienced stigma from others, and some, self-stigma. Half of the participants spoke about the “them and us” between professionals and clients, and one participant, between professionals and PSWs; “Towards a Culture of Openness” captures participants’ concerns around social acceptability of their lived experience, and their hopes for greater openness and less shame, akin to that in recovery settings; “Changed Identity” highlights the impact of lived experience on professionals’ roles and vice versa; and finally, “Experiencing the Organisation as Unsupportive” reveals that participants feel under pressure to prove wellness, that staff wellbeing is not prioritised, and there exists an ironic lack of understanding and support. Conclusion: The findings showed that lived experience influences mental health professionals’ identity and self-care, their clinical practice, and their working relationships with colleagues and the organisation. Participants valued their lived experience, especially in terms of building strong therapeutic relationships with clients.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available