How do “mental health professionals” who are also or have been “mental health service users” construct their identities?

Journal article


Holttum, S., Richards, J. and Springham, N. 2016. How do “mental health professionals” who are also or have been “mental health service users” construct their identities? SAGE Open. 2016, pp. 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244015621348
AuthorsHolttum, S., Richards, J. and Springham, N.
Abstract

“Mental health professionals” are increasingly speaking out about their own experiences of using mental health services. However, research suggests that they face identity-related dilemmas because social conventions tend to assume two distinct identities: “professionals” as relatively socially powerful and “patients” as comparatively powerless. The aim of this study was, through discourse analysis, to explore how “mental health professionals” with “mental health service user” experience “construct” their identity. Discourse analysis views identity as fluid and continually renegotiated in social contexts. Ten participants were interviewed, and the interviews were transcribed and analyzed. Participants constructed their identity variously, including as separate “professional” and “patient” identities, switching between these in relation to different contexts, suggesting “unintegrated” identities. Participants also demonstrated personally valued “integrated” identities in relation to some professional contexts. Implications for clinical practice and future research are explored. Positive identity discourses that integrate experiences as a service user and a professional included “personhood” and insider “activist,” drawing in turn on discourses of “personal recovery,” “lived experience,” and “use of self.” These integrated identities can potentially be foregrounded to contribute to realizing the social value of service user and other lived experience in mental health workers, and highlighting positive and hopeful perspectives on mental distress.

KeywordsMental health; identity; professional; discourse
Year2016
JournalSAGE Open
Journal citation2016, pp. 1-14
PublisherSAGE
ISSN2158-2440
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244015621348
Official URLhttp://sgo.sagepub.com/content/6/1/2158244015621348
Publication dates
Print12 Jan 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited14 Jan 2016
Accepted19 Nov 2015
Output statusPublished
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Holttum, S. 2009. Service user and carer involvement in clinical psychology doctoral training: Training as a professional and remaining human.
Research watch
Holttum, S. 2011. Research watch. Mental Health and Social Inclusion. 15 (1), pp. 7-11. https://doi.org/10.5042/mhsi.2011.0052
From student to service user to research lecturer on a clinical psychology programme: a personal view on why clinical psychology training needs service user involvement
Holttum, S. 2010. From student to service user to research lecturer on a clinical psychology programme: a personal view on why clinical psychology training needs service user involvement. Clinical Psychology Forum. 209, pp. 39-41.
Small-scale placement-based research in clinical psychology training: the role of qualitative methods
Holttum, S. and Lavender, T. 2001. Small-scale placement-based research in clinical psychology training: the role of qualitative methods. Clinical Psychology. 5, pp. 27-31.
Express yourself? Research in brief
Holttum, S. 1998. Express yourself? Research in brief. The Psychologist. 11 (6), pp. 296-296.
Is abstinence from alcohol dangerous? Research in brief
Holttum, S. 1998. Is abstinence from alcohol dangerous? Research in brief. The Psychologist. 11 (4), p. 186.
An investigation of the impact of training social workers and their managers
Duffy, T., Holttum, S. and Keegan, M. 1998. An investigation of the impact of training social workers and their managers. Alcoholism. 34 (1-2), pp. 93-104.
Personality style, psychological adaptation and expectations of trainee clinical psychologists
Brooks, J., Holttum, S. and Lavender, T. 2002. Personality style, psychological adaptation and expectations of trainee clinical psychologists. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy. 9 (4), pp. 253-270. https://doi.org/10.1002/cpp.318
Determinants of quality of life in black African women with HIV living in London
Onwumere, J., Holttum, S. and Hirst, F. 2002. Determinants of quality of life in black African women with HIV living in London. Psychology, Health and Medicine. 7 (1), pp. 61-74. https://doi.org/10.1080/13548500120101568
The relationship between acceptance and cognitive representations of pain in participants of a pain management programme
Rankin, H. and Holttum, S. 2003. The relationship between acceptance and cognitive representations of pain in participants of a pain management programme. Psychology, Health and Medicine. 8 (3), pp. 329-334. https://doi.org/10.1080/1354850031000135768
Factors influencing levels of research activity in clinical psychologists: a new model
Holttum, S. and Goble, L. 2006. Factors influencing levels of research activity in clinical psychologists: a new model. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy. 13 (5), pp. 339-351. https://doi.org/10.1002/cpp.501
Perceived improvements in service user involvement in two clinical psychology training courses
Holttum, S. and Hayward, M. 2010. Perceived improvements in service user involvement in two clinical psychology training courses. Psychology Learning & Teaching. 9 (1), pp. 16-24. https://doi.org/10.2304/plat.2010.9.1.16
WAIS III UK: an extension of the UK comparability study
Wycherley, R., Lavender, T., Holttum, S., Crawford, J. and Mockler, D. 2005. WAIS III UK: an extension of the UK comparability study. British Journal of Clinical Psychology. 44 (2), pp. 279-288. https://doi.org/10.1348/014466505X29440
Children's explanations of aggressive incidents at school within an attribution framework
Joscelyne, T. and Holttum, S. 2006. Children's explanations of aggressive incidents at school within an attribution framework. Child and Adolescent Mental Health. 11 (2), pp. 104-110. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-3588.2006.00397.x
How do women experience myocardial infarction? A qualitative exploration of illness perceptions, adjustment and coping
White, J., Hunter, M. and Holttum, S. 2007. How do women experience myocardial infarction? A qualitative exploration of illness perceptions, adjustment and coping. Psychology, Health and Medicine. 12 (3), pp. 278-288. https://doi.org/10.1080/13548500600971288
Reflections on involving service users and carers in clinical psychology training
Holttum, S. 2008. Reflections on involving service users and carers in clinical psychology training. The Higher Education Academy Psychology Network Newsletter. 48, pp. 2-3.
Perceived changes associated with autogenic training for anxiety: a grounded theory study
Yurdakul, L., Holttum, S. and Bowden, A. 2009. Perceived changes associated with autogenic training for anxiety: a grounded theory study. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory Research and Practice. 82 (4), pp. 403-419. https://doi.org/10.1348/147608309X444749
Comparative clinical feasibility study of three tools for delivery of cognitive behavioural therapy for mild to moderate depression and anxiety, provided on a self-help basis
Pittaway, S., Cupitt, C., Palmer, D., Arowobusoye, N., Milne, R., Holttum, S., Pezet, R. and Patrik, H. 2009. Comparative clinical feasibility study of three tools for delivery of cognitive behavioural therapy for mild to moderate depression and anxiety, provided on a self-help basis. Mental Health in Family Medicine. 6 (3), pp. 145-154.