The therapeutic alliance between the nurse and the client assumes utmost significance in the mental healthcare setting as the patients are greatly in need of personal counseling, guidance and care. Nurses need to have professional knowledge and skills to establish effective…
A qualitative research methodology is employed for the purpose of the study. The common themes in the literature on the therapeutic relationships between the nurses and clients are identified. The study was administered on a sample target group (who were screened based on their experiences of having worked in mental healthcare) of nurses who work in the psychiatric and mental health care hospitals in and around Melbourne in Victoria Australia. A preliminary mailed questionnaire was used to eliminate nurses with no prior experiences in mental healthcare. A telephonic interview was also administered on these respondents to know their willingness to take part in the sample survey. Thus, the participants for the survey consisted of 40 nurses who worked in and around Melbourne in Victoria Australia with at least two years of working in mental healthcare. The questionnaire comprised of 8 interrelated questions most of which were open ended.
The results of the study confirmed the common themes identified in the literature review. While therapeutic relationships have been identified as very much significant by the participant nurses they expressed their concern over the inadequacy of ongoing staff training, the heavy work schedule and the problems associated with maintaining professional boundaries. The respondents regarded mutual trust, empathy, confidentiality and non-judgment, feelings of reciprocity and connectedness, and acceptance and understanding as the key factors of effective therapeutic alliance whereas respect, communication and interpersonal skills, and professional knowledge were complementary. On the other hand, the major crippling factors (that prevent effective therapeutic alliance with patients) identified by the respondents consisted of mistrust, breach of confidentiality, ego, lack of communication and interpersonal skills, and lack of professional ...
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