Sharing Lived Experience

Sharing Lived Experience in Mental Health Interventions

When I undertook research into social workers’ attitudes towards self-disclosure, I included a question about mental health.  Would practitioners think it was acceptable or unacceptable for professionals to share their experiences with a client of having received counselling, or having been bereaved?*  These questions caught the eye of a mental health practitioner in Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (a mental health service provider), who wanted to further explore practitioners’ thoughts about sharing lived experience with clients.

This topic has become the focus of my PhD in Social Policy and Social Work which commenced in October 2013.

* The responses (239 of them), by the way, suggested that the workforce was roughly equally split about whether disclosure of mental health experiences (by practitioners with clients) was acceptable or unacceptable.  Roughly a third thought it was unacceptable, roughly a third were neutral, and roughly a third though it was acceptable.  The respondents were all social workers, most of whom did not work in mental health settings.

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