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Title: Self-disclosure in mental health services
Author: Lovell, Jonathan
ISNI:       0000 0004 6494 3542
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2017
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Sharing lived experience of mental health experiences by mental health practitioners is a topic of increasing relevance in statutory UK mental health settings, in part because of the rise in recent years of the employment of peer workers who share their lived experience by default. Literature to date has suggested that self-disclosure can have a range of benefits and risks, but existing studies have tended to focus on general rather than mental health disclosure, have not taken place in statutory settings, have studied a narrow section of the workforce, or have used analogue methodology. The current study used quantitative and qualitative methods through surveys and focus groups to explore statutory UK mental health practitioners’ and service-users’ views about the helpfulness of sharing personal mental health lived experience versus other types of lived experience. Service-users indicated that personal mental health lived experience was the most helpful disclosure topic, was valued when disclosed by all types of qualified practitioner, but it was shared least often. Practitioners who rate disclosure as helpful may be more reflective than practitioners who rate disclosure as unhelpful. Practitioners may be deterred from disclosing by a range of pressures, including risk of negative disclosure effects; adherence to therapeutic models; negative judgements from colleagues; pre-qualifying training; and perceived direction from professional codes of conduct and ethics. Despite perceived risks associated with hypothetical disclosure, most practitioners disclosed to some extent. Respondents gave almost 500 examples of real life disclosures which were almost exclusively helpful. It is recommended that practitioners are afforded greater autonomy, respect and permission to make decisions about disclosure without fear of judgment about professionalism. Training and guidance may be beneficial to help practitioners make best use of disclosures in statutory mental health service delivery.
Supervisor: Webber, Martin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available