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Community meetings on acute psychiatric wards: a therapeutic intervention or a meaningless exercise?

Aleksandra Novakovic (Group Analyst, Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships, UK)
Katie Francis (North London, UK)
Jacqueline Clark (Mental Health Services, NHS, UK)
Linda Craig (London‐based forensic rehabilitation service, UK)

Mental Health Review Journal

ISSN: 1361-9322

Article publication date: 17 November 2010



Although long a feature of inpatient mental health ward routine, community meetings have not always attracted a clear sense of purpose and value. A common complaint from patients is that community meetings are useless and have no worthwhile purpose. It was thought that staff on acute wards would benefit from having a space to think about community meetings, and a work discussion group was provided over a duration of 18 months. It was hoped that this intervention would enable facilitators to think about these meetings and about their aims and benefits. This paper presents findings from the work discussion group: staff facilitators' experience of facilitating community meetings and patients' direct feedback to facilitators about their experience of these meetings. The conclusions made are that community meetings could provide a useful forum for patients and staff if they:• are of benefit to patients• provide a forum for development of the therapeutic alliance between patients and staff• contribute towards improvement of the ward milieu• provide a forum for staff to develop therapeutic skills• provide a forum for staff to develop working relationships with colleagues and different professionals in the team.



Novakovic, A., Francis, K., Clark, J. and Craig, L. (2010), "Community meetings on acute psychiatric wards: a therapeutic intervention or a meaningless exercise?", Mental Health Review Journal, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 45-53.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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