City Research Online

A counselling psychology perspective on in-patient settings: considering the relationship of care and depression

Christopoulou, A. (2018). A counselling psychology perspective on in-patient settings: considering the relationship of care and depression. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Objectives: The way services users understand and relate to the care provided to them is a very important element of their recovery. Qualitative and quantitative studies have focused on psychiatric hospitalisation, from both service user and staff perspectives, mainly from the nursing discipline. However, less is known about the experience of being cared for by others during psychiatric hospitalisation. This study aims to explore the experience of care through a psychologically informed understanding of this experience, so as to elicit themes that have relevance to depression and caring as a result of the care-receiving experience. This study’s unique contribution is that it focuses on the more fundamentally humane phenomenon of “being looked after”. Therefore the objective of this study is to explore the experience of depressed service users being cared for by others (i.e. mental health care professionals) within in-patient psychiatric settings, in order to throw light on the important link between care and depression and so understand the involvement of the care component of hospitalisation on the depressive experience. It is hoped this will contribute to the provision of appropriate services for these individuals. Method: Semi-structured interviews were carried out with eight in-patients who had been diagnosed with, and were undergoing treatment for, depression. Verbatim transcripts of the interviews were then analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA).

Results: The analysis produced three master themes: ‘containment’; ‘attached’; ‘arrested temporality’. A description of these master themes and the related subordinate themes is presented.

Conclusion: The results of the analysis are considered in light of existing theory and their clinical implications. The clinical implications of the findings, such as the need to maintain connections with family, foster supportive relationships within the ward environment, understand attachment patterns to the mental health system and temporal idleness within units highlight the need to prioritise the service-user perspective in clinical settings and future research.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
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