Therapeutic relationships within child and adolescent mental health inpatient services: a qualitative exploration of the experiences of young people, family members and nursing staff

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Abstract

Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), especially inpatient units, have arguably never been more in demand and yet more in need of reform. Progress in psychotherapy and more broadly in mental health care is strongly predicted by the therapeutic relationship between professional and service user. This link is particularly pertinent in child and adolescent mental health inpatient services where relationships are especially complex and difficult to develop and maintain. This article describes a qualitative exploration of the lived experienced of 24 participants (8 young people, 8 family members/carers and 8 nursing staff) within inpatient CAMHS across four sites in the UK. We interviewed participants individually and analysed the transcripts using thematic analysis within a critical realist framework. We synthesised data across groups and present six themes, encapsulating the intricacies and impact of therapeutic relationships; their development and maintenance: Therapeutic relationships are the treatment, Cultivating connection, Knowledge is power, Being human, The dance, and It’s tough for all of us in here. We hope these findings can be used to improve quality of care by providing a blueprint for policy, training, systemic structures and staff support.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPL o S One
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 17 Dec 2021

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