Rolling with defences: A space to think: An exploration of a bounded reflective group for approved mental health professionals

Robinson, Gill (2022) Rolling with defences: A space to think: An exploration of a bounded reflective group for approved mental health professionals. Professional Doctorate thesis, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust / University of Essex. Full text available

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Abstract

This research project examines the application of a bounded reflective group (RPG) when applied to a group of Approved Mental Health Professionals (AMHPs). Learning through my own experience of an RPG’s ability to enliven and engage me as an experienced practitioner and manager, my curiosity as a researcher was piqued. Previous researchers have signposted the importance of good supervision for this challenging role, yet there has been no formal interrogation of such spaces (Gregor, 2010, and others). As the manager, I introduced and led an RPG model and simultaneously as a psycho-social researcher, I critically examined its application and impact over a twelve-month period. I have drawn on a blend of methodological approaches which included participant psychoanalytic observation and Free Association Narrative Interview (FANI). I used three data sets; first, reflective group sessions, including case presentation, discussion and researcher observations; secondly, 1:1 interviews; thirdly, group interviews. Each set was methodically gathered via audio recording, subsequently transcribed by the researcher, and later, taken to supervision for interpretive analysis. I identified themes which emerged, and in turn these informed the research questions, helping to focus my field of enquiry. In addition, the paradigm of ‘thinking in cases (Forrester, 2017) was applied. The research findings revealed how the RPG helped to strengthen and deepen the relationship to their professional selves and work with patients. The overlap of sole group leader and manager, while not ideal, richly conveys just how much there is to be gained by having a safe space to support the AMHP workforce with the emotional contagion of the work. It is hoped that these insights will inform social work practice, and future research is also discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Additional Information: Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Essex in collaboration with the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust for the award of Professional Doctorate in advanced practice and research: Social work and social care
Uncontrolled Keywords: Professional Doctorate in advanced practice and research: Social work and social care, D55
Subjects: Groups & Organisations > Occupational Groups
Social Welfare > Social Welfare Personnel
Social Welfare > Social Work
Department/People: Adult and Forensic Services
Research
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2701

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