University of Leicester
2015_ISTEAD_HI_DCLINPSY.pdf (2.14 MB)

Recovery in a mental health setting: an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of how an individual experiences a Peer-Supported Self-Management Intervention.

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posted on 2015-10-15, 14:31 authored by Hannah Istead
Peer support workers are people with lived experience of mental health distress who provide mental health interventions or services to people with mental health problems who are at an earlier stage in their recovery journey (Davidson et al., 2006). Disclosing personal strategies with a recipient is seen as one beneficial aspect of the peer support model. However minimal research has been conducted to explore how the individual experiences this relationship. This remains an important question due to the increase in recovery-orientated services operating peer support models in UK mental health settings. Literature Review: The act of self-disclosure (SD) within the peer model may be seen as a critical ingredient to the models success. Qualitative studies examining client’s perception of therapist SD were reviewed using the meta-ethnographic process. Seven studies were found to meet inclusion criteria. Themes identified were that SD could simultaneously strengthen and also impede the alliance formed between therapist and client. Findings overlap with the salient components of effective therapeutic alliance, but also that SD can trigger early unhelpful attachment experiences leading to alliance ruptures. Research Report: Little is known about the circumstances in which the peer support model works (Repper & Carter, 2011). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven individuals who had been in receipt of peer support self-management intervention as part of a Randomised Controlled Trial. Interviews were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Findings indicated that internal and external stigmatising attitudes and concealment of mental health identity contributed to ambivalent identification with the peer. Contrary to this, individuals also used the relationship to challenge stigmatising attitudes. Results are also considered in light of criticisms of the recovery model. Critical Appraisal: Critique of the research methodology and limitations are discussed. The trainee reflects on a psychology of humanistic values, counter to the experimental/positivist psychological tradition.



Kurtz, Arabella; Allan, Steven

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Psychology

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • DClinPsy



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