Staff accused and abused. Managing anxiety, pain and distress in systems of care

Foster, Angela (2019) Staff accused and abused. Managing anxiety, pain and distress in systems of care. In: Mothers accused and abused: Addressing complex psychological needs. Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 61-73. ISBN 9781315105550

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This chapter explores the difficulties staff teams encounter when working with deprived, disturbed and often dangerous patients or clients (the term used is determined by the setting). Much has been written about the impact of forensic patients on those who care for them within group settings while little attention has been paid to the impact on fieldwork staff and the impact of the political climate – the culture of blame. The duty of care requires professionals to look after those deemed to be at risk and risky and to protect others, including their children from harm. This dual responsibility can place staff in a sandwich of persecutory anxiety in which they are also likely to experience depressive and existential anxieties. When a patient or client does something particularly alarming we worry about how to manage the immediate clinical situation, how to manage our managers and the external system and about our own abilities and our survival. While some degree of anxiety may be helpful as a motivator, too much is anxiety causes us to split and inhibits our ability to think clearly, hence the management of anxiety is crucial to good practice. I will examine cause and the nature of anxiety and its impact, highlighting the necessity for containing spaces within the working week for reflection and exploration.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Child Abuse & Neglect - Psychology
Criminology > Forensic Psychiatry
Criminology > Forensic Psychotherapy
Families > Mother Child Relations
Families > Maternal Deprivation
Social Welfare > Social Welfare Personnel
Social Welfare > Social Work
Department/People: Visiting Lecturer

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