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Aiyegbusi, A. Kelly, D. (2015). ‘This is the pain I feel!’ Projection and emotional pain in the nurse–patient relationship with people diagnosed with personality disorders in forensic and specialist personality disorder services: findings from a mixed methods study. Psychoanal. Psychother., 29(3):276-294.

(2015). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 29(3):276-294

‘This is the pain I feel!’ Projection and emotional pain in the nurse–patient relationship with people diagnosed with personality disorders in forensic and specialist personality disorder services: findings from a mixed methods study

Anne Aiyegbusi and Daniel Kelly

This paper reports the lived experience of the nurse–patient relationship in specialist forensic and therapeutic community (TC) settings for people diagnosed with personality disorders (PDs), from the perspectives of both nurses and patients. A sequential mixed methods study incorporating quantitative Delphi study data with qualitative insights based in the tradition of phenomenology and underpinned by a psychoanalytic paradigm. Purposive samples of nurses and patients currently involved in providing or receiving the nurse–patient relationship in TC or forensic mental health settings were included. Qualitative data analysis resulted in three main themes identified by nurses and patients regarding their experiences of the nurse–patient relationship. They were: (1) Pain: processing or passing on? (2) System of social defences. (3) What helps? This paper focuses on the first ‘pain: processing or passing on’ of the three themes. This theme describes highly painful emotional phenomena arising primarily from patients' traumatic antecedents, suffusing interpersonal transactions, including the nurse – patient relationship. This is reported as experienced by nurse and patient participants. The findings emphasise the relevance of integrating Bion's theory of psychological containment and Bowlby's attachment theory into the nurse–patient relationship in services for people diagnosed with PDs.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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