“I just can’t, I am frightened for my safety, I don’t know how to work with her” Practitioners’ experiences of client violence and recommendations for future practice

Article


Murphy, H. and Jussab, Fardin 2015. “I just can’t, I am frightened for my safety, I don’t know how to work with her” Practitioners’ experiences of client violence and recommendations for future practice. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. 46 (4), pp. 287-297.
AuthorsMurphy, H. and Jussab, Fardin
Abstract

To what extent is the therapist-client relationship damaged following client perpetuated violence and what steps can we take to diminish its impact? Much of the information we have on client violence comes from multiple mental health disciplines in the US and the UK over the last 20-30 years and has formed a useful, though sometimes dated and sporadic, quantitative baseline to delineate a range of issues. However, there is limited systematic research on how practitioner psychologists process the violence in the course of their everyday practice and how this impacts the therapist-client dynamic. Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), we explored seven therapists’ experiences of client violence across a range of work sites – acute psychiatric hospital wards, forensic hospital wards and community mental health teams. Three main themes were documented: processing the moment-to-moment experience of client violence; professional vulnerabilities and needs as a result of client violence; and the ruptured therapeutic relationship. Strategies for supporting practicing psychologists and providing continuing professional care for clients include challenging self-doubt and re-energizing professional competencies as well as repairing ourselves and repairing the therapeutic relationship. Recommendations for credentialing and regulatory bodies in relation to client violence are also highlighted.

JournalProfessional Psychology: Research and Practice
Journal citation46 (4), pp. 287-297
Year2015
PublisherAmerican Psychological Association
Accepted author manuscript
Web address (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pro0000035
Publication dates
Print22 Jun 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited06 Jul 2015
Copyright information© 2015 APA This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
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