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Title: How do people construct their identity when they are both a 'mental health professional' and a 'mental health service user'?
Author: Richards, Jenna
ISNI:       0000 0004 2749 678X
Awarding Body: Canterbury Christ Church University
Current Institution: Canterbury Christ Church University
Date of Award: 2013
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Literature suggests that there are a growing number of ‘mental health professionals’ speaking out about their own experiences of using mental health services. Research suggests that these professionals face dilemmas when constructing their identity because they are drawing on two identities that are viewed as fundamentally different, i.e. ‘mental health professionals’ as powerful and ‘mental health service users’ as powerless. This study aimed to explore how ‘mental health professionals’ who are/have been ‘mental health service users’ construct their identity using a social constructionist epistemology, which views identity as fluid and continuously renegotiated in social contexts (Davies & Harré, 1990; Potter & Wetherell, 1987). Ten participants who self-identified as ‘mental health professionals’ who are/have been ‘mental health service users’ volunteered to take part. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using discourse analysis. Participants constructed their identity in a variety of ways, including as separate identities, i.e. a ‘professional identity’ and a ‘patient/mental health service user identity’ constructions, switching between the two in different contexts, therefore developing an ‘un-integrated identity’. Participants also developed an ‘integrated identity’ construction in some professional contexts. These results are discussed and implications for clinical practice and future research are explored.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF0697 Differential psychology. Individuality. Self ; R0697 Allied health professionals ; RA0790 Mental health services. Mental illness prevention ; RC0467 Clinical psychology