To investigate the complementarities of staff and service users' experiences of shame in psychiatric in-patient settings. Qualitative methods were used by means of focus group interviews in two compositions – staff and service users. Data were transcribed and thematically analysed.
Service user group transcripts revealed four prominent themes: ‘loss of value’, ‘loss of adulthood and autonomy’, ‘loss of subjectivity’ and ‘shaming or blaming of others’. Staff group transcripts also revealed two themes one of which overlapped with service users (‘shaming or blaming of others’) and one of which was distinct (‘entrapment’).
Shame processes may be elicited by caregiving and impede treatment. Staff find themselves in the predicament of provoking the problems they intend to address. Suggestions are made as to how to respond to this dilemma and practically improve aspects of the in-patient care process to reduce shame.
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