Staff nurse perceptions of the impact of mentalization-based therapy skills training when working with borderline personality disorder in acute mental health: a qualitative study.
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WARRENDER, D., 2015. Staff nurse perceptions of the impact of mentalization-based therapy skills training when working with borderline personality disorder in acute mental health: a qualitative study. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, Vol 22 (8), pp 623-633.
People diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) are highly prevalent in acute mental health wards, with staff nurses identifying a challenge in working with people who can be significantly distressed. This has contributed to a negative stereotype verging on stigmatization. Mentalization-based therapy (MBT) is a psychological therapy which has been shown to be of benefit to people with a diagnosis of BPD, yet it has been utilized and evaluated only in partial hospitalization and outpatient settings. Despite this, most people diagnosed with BPD will continue to be treated in generic inpatient settings such as acute mental health. Mentalization-based therapy skills training (MBT-S) is a new and cost-effective 2-day workshop aiming to provide generalist practitioners with MBT skills for use in generic settings. This study aimed to capture staff perceptions of the impact of MBT-S on their practice when working with people with a diagnosis of BPD in acute mental health. Through two focus groups, this study assessed the perceptions of nine staff nurses. An interpretive phenomenological approach was utilized in data analysis. Participants found the approach easy to grasp, improving of consistency between staff and flexible in its use in planned or ‘off the cuff’ discussions. MBT-S promoted empathy and humane responses to self-harm, impacted on participants ability to tolerate risk and went some way to turning the negative perception of BPD through changing the notion of patients as ‘deliberately difficult’. Staff felt empowered and more confident in working with people with a diagnosis of BPD. The positive implication for practice was the ease in which the approach was adopted and participants perception of MBT-S as an empowering skill set which also contributed to attitudinal change. In acute mental health environments, which may not have the resources to provide long-term structured treatments to patients, MBT-S could be viewed as ideal as participants applauded its flexibility. The promotion of empathy also sees a move away from iatrogenic damage caused by unhelpful responses to self-harm. In the context of wider research, this study shows that staff nurses find the MBT-S skill set valuable in the generic inpatient setting of acute mental health.
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