Beyond neutrality: professionals’ responses to clients’ indirect complaints in a Therapeutic Community for people with a diagnosis of mental illness

Pino, Marco and Mortari, Luigina (2013) Beyond neutrality: professionals’ responses to clients’ indirect complaints in a Therapeutic Community for people with a diagnosis of mental illness. Communication & Medicine, 10 (3). pp. 213-224. ISSN 1612-1783

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Abstract

Previous research has evidenced that in different

institutional settings professionals are cautious

when responding to clients’ indirect complaints

and tend to avoid siding either with the clients/

complainants or the complained-of absent parties.

In this article we use the method of Conversation

Analysis to explore professional responses

to clients’ indirect complaints in the context of a

Therapeutic Community (TC) for people with diagnoses

of mental illness in Italy. Although the TC

staff members sometimes display a neutral orientation

toward the clients’ complaints, as is the case in

other institutional settings, in some instances they

take a stance toward the clients’ complaints, either

by distancing themselves or by overtly disaffiliating

from them. We argue that these practices reflect the

particular challenges of an institutional setting in

which professionals engage with clients on a daily

basis, have an institutional mandate of watching

over them and are responsible for their safety. According

to this interpretation, staff members’ non-neutrality

toward clients’ complaints can be seen as

a way of defending against the possibility, raised by

the clients’ reports, that the staff members might be

involved, albeit indirectly, in courses of action that

have harmed or might harm the clients.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Conversation Analysis; indirect complaints; mental health; neutrality; rehabilitation; Therapeutic Community
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham UK Campus > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Depositing User: Pino, Dr Marco
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2014 14:20
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2016 03:07
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/3608

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