Understanding the experiences of parents using mental health services

DClinPsych Thesis

Palfreyman, L. 2019. Understanding the experiences of parents using mental health services. DClinPsych Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology
AuthorsPalfreyman, L.
TypeDClinPsych Thesis
Qualification nameDoctor of Clinical Psychology

Understanding parents’ experiences is a key task in recent partnership based approaches to family interventions (e.g. Davis & Day, 2010) but insight into the meaning of psychosis to mothers with this diagnosis is under-developed within the literature.

This study explored the experiences and personal meanings of six mothers with a psychosis diagnosis using community mental health services and seeing clinical psychologists. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA).

The results indicated that psychosis has multiple meanings for mothers but was predominantly understood as biomedical. The interaction of a diagnosis with parenting was perceived to be mediated by the effects of symptoms, medication and hospital admissions. Services were experienced as supportive whilst also providing surveillance of symptoms, medication adherence and parenting.

This study suggests that neither biomedical nor psychological narratives are sufficient to understanding the personal meanings that mothers attribute to their experience, in the context of being a parent with a psychosis diagnosis. This has implications for the way in which practitioners engage with service users to develop individual understandings.

KeywordsPsychosis; motherhood; parental mental health; parenting; bipolar
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Publication process dates
Deposited21 Nov 2019
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