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There is increasing evidence that an involuntary hospital admission and treatment can undermine the therapeutic relationship. While good relationships with staff are important factors influencing long-term recovery, there is little information on how people experience their relationships with staff while under an involuntary treatment order (ITO). Twenty-five involuntary inpatients were interviewed about their experiences of an ITO. The interviews were analysed by a general inductive approach. Participants described the following themes: (i) the ITO admission was a daunting and frightening experience; (ii) staff behaviours and attitudes shaped their experiences in hospital; (iii) importance of staff listening to their concerns; (iv) importance of having a space to make sense of their experiences; (v) importance of staff ability to look beyond their illness and diagnosis; and (vi) importance of staff working in partnership. These findings highlight that when using recovery principles, such as an empathic engagement with the patients' lived experience, forging partnerships with patients in treatment decision-making to enhance agency, an involuntary treatment order does not have to limit the ability to establish positive relationships.


School of Allied Health

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Journal Article

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