Davies, Jacqueline, Heyman, Bob, Godin, Paul, Shaw, M. and Reynolds, L. (2006) The problems of offenders with mental disorders: A plurality of perspectives within a single mental health care organisation. Social Science and Medicine, 63 (4). pp. 1097-1108. ISSN 0277-9536

Managers, doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, social workers, psychologists, unqualified staff and service users were interviewed for a qualitative study of risk management and rehabilitation in an inner city medium secure forensic mental health care unit. Different professional orientations to service user problems were identified. Doctors focused primarily on the diagnosis of mental disorder, which they managed mainly through pharmaceutical interventions. Psychologists were principally concerned with personal factors, for example service user insight into their biographical history. Occupational therapists concentrated mainly on daily living skills, and social workers on post-discharge living arrangements. Some front line nurses, held accountable for security lapses, adopted a criminogenic approach. Service users were more likely than professionals to understand their needs in terms of their wider life circumstances. These differences are explored qualitatively in relation to four models of crossdisciplinary relationships: monoprofessional self-organisation combined with restricted communication; hermeneutic reaching out to other perspectives; the establishment of interdisciplinary sub-systems; and transdisciplinary merger. Relationships between professions working in this unit, as portrayed in qualitative interviews, corresponded mainly to the first model of monoprofessional self-organisation. Reasons for restricted crossdisciplinary understanding, particularly the wide power/status differences between the medical and other professions, and between staff and patients, are discussed.

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