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Clinical psychologists working in crisis resolution and home treatment teams: a grounded theory exploration

Nicola Murphy (Clinical Psychologists, based at Cwm Taf Local Health Board, UK)
Andrew Vidgen (Clinical Psychologists, based at School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)
Clare Sandford (Clinical Psychologist, based at Ysbyty George Thomas, Treorchy, UK)
Steve Onyett (Associate Professor, based at University of Exeter, Exeter, UK)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 29 November 2013




There has been a rapid development and implementation of crisis resolution home treatment teams (CRHTT) in the UK over the past decade. The available research studies of this service provision to date have largely focused on issues related to the “outputs” of CRHTT, for example cost efficacy and the impact on admission rates. There is limited research on the experiences of clinical psychologists within CRHTT. This is despite the fact that it would seem that research exploring the experiences of mental health professionals in CRHTT is important, as working in a new area of service provision may present specific challenges. An understanding of the nature of these challenges is considered important in order to support clinical psychologists in these settings, and to sustain and improve service delivery.


–This study presents a qualitative exploration of clinical psychologists’ experiences of working in a CRHTT. In total, 11 clinical psychologists were interviewed about their perceptions of working within CRHTT, their relationships with other professionals and their experiences of working with service users in “crisis”. The grounded theory approach was employed to analyse participants’ accounts.


–Two themes were identified: psychological and clinical work and teamwork. The emergent themes are compared to the wider literature on clinical psychologists’ experiences of working in teams, and working with service users in “crisis”.


This research demonstrates the value of a clinical psychology perspective in acute mental health settings. It also highlights the value of a clinical psychological perspective in multi-disciplinary team working. It draws attention to the need for clinical psychologists working in CRHTT settings to be able to more clearly articulate their roles in these services. It points to the importance of clinical psychologists considering the interventions they provide to service users with complex presentations. Also, it highlights their need to consider the psychological interventions they provide in CRHTT settings more generally, as this area of work does not closely align with NICE guidelines.



This study presents part of the work completed by the first author to fulfil the requirements of a DClinPsy at the South Wales Doctoral Programme in Clinical Psychology, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. The authors are grateful to the participants who gave up their time to take part in this study.


Murphy, N., Vidgen, A., Sandford, C. and Onyett, S. (2013), "Clinical psychologists working in crisis resolution and home treatment teams: a grounded theory exploration", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 181-195.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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