Men's experiences of engaging in psychological therapy in a forensic mental health setting

Hussain, Shazia (2018). Men's experiences of engaging in psychological therapy in a forensic mental health setting. University of Birmingham. Other

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Background: The Multifactor Offender Readiness Model (MORM) acknowledges the importance of gender-sensitive interventions in enhancing engagement in the rehabilitation of offenders. However, to date, little attention has been paid to the role of gender identity in psychological therapy. Even though men in forensic settings are likely to endorse hypermasculine attitudes, such as promoting aggression and restricting emotional expression, which run counter to therapeutic ideals.

Methodology: Nine men residing in medium-secure forensic mental health hospitals were interviewed. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to obtain first-person accounts of the men’s lived experiences to gain an insight into the subjective meanings they attached to their experiences of psychological therapy.

Results: An analysis of the individual transcripts highlighted the men’s journey over the course of therapy, marked by an internal struggle against the external pressures. Three superordinate themes were identified: ‘shifting self’, ‘relationship with other’ and ‘therapeutic journey’, alongside their subsequent sub-themes.

Discussion: A gradual, non-linear process of change was evident in the men’s narratives, who at the various phases of psychological therapy were faced with the challenge of questioning and redefining their identity. This involved lowering their guard, learning to become comfortable with vulnerability and face their past in the presence of a supportive ‘other’, in order to move towards building a new or better future for themselves.

Type of Work: Thesis (Other)
Award Type: Other
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology


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