Exploring the experiences of staff working in forensic mental health settings

Kirkham, Rosie and Fletcher, Ian (2017) Exploring the experiences of staff working in forensic mental health settings. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

[thumbnail of 2017kirkhamdclinpsy]
PDF (2017kirkhamdclinpsy)
2017kirkhamdclinpsy.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs.

Download (5MB)


Forensic mental health (FMH) is described as a complex and challenging specialism to work in. The experiences of staff working within FMH settings have important influences on the quality of care provided to patients. This thesis explored the experiences of both multidisciplinary staff and clinical psychologists. A meta-synthesis of international qualitative studies was conducted to explore the experiences of staff working in FMH settings. Sixteen papers were synthesised, revealing five themes: 1) The impact of safety; 2) Psychological and emotional impacts; 3) Trying to maintain control; 4) The double-edged sword of support; and 5) A special insight into humanity. The findings point to the importance of understanding how staff manage the impacts of working in FMH settings in order to develop effective support systems. Eight clinical psychologists were individually interviewed to explore their lived experiences of compassion satisfaction when working in UK forensic mental health settings. Five themes were identified using interpretative phenomenological analysis: 1) The magnitude of trust; 2) Adjusting expectations; 3) Being both lock and key; 4) Needing time and resources; and 5) Variety and complexity. The results highlighted important distinctions in how compassion satisfaction can be experienced by clinical psychologists in this specialty, and what may influence these experiences. A critical appraisal of the process of carrying out the research was conducted. Issues regarding ethical approval, recruitment, and methodology were discussed, in addition to the impact of the study on the researcher.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
30 Nov 2017 10:22
Last Modified:
12 Feb 2024 00:14