Learning from stories of mental distress in occupational therapy education

WALSH, Susan (2016). Learning from stories of mental distress in occupational therapy education. The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, 11 (4), 220-233.

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Official URL: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/JMH...
Link to published version:: 10.1108/JMHTEP-02-2016-0010

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to describe processes of learning from personal experiences of mental distress when mental health service users participate in occupational therapy education with tutors and students who have also had experiences of mental distress. Design/methodology/approach: A post-structural theoretical perspective was applied to stories which emerged from the research process. Semi-structured group and individual interviews were used with three service users, three students and three tutors (including the author) who had all had, at some time in their lives, experiences of mental distress. Findings: Stories based on previously hidden personal experiences of mental distress began to shift dominant understandings. Further, as educators, service users challenged whose authority it is to speak about mental distress and permitted different narrative positions for students and tutors. However, technologies of power and technologies of self of powerful discourses in professional education continued to disqualify and exclude personal knowledges. Learning from stories requires a critical approach to storytelling to expose how hidden power relations maintain some knowledges as dominant. Further, learning requires narrative work, which was often hidden and unaccounted for, to navigate complex and contradictory positions in learning. Social implications: Although storytelling based on personal experience can help develop a skilled and healthy mental health workforce, its impact will be limited without changes in classrooms, courses and higher education which support learning at the margins of personal/professional and personal/political learning. Originality/value: Learning from stories of mental distress requires conditions which take account of the hidden practices which operate in mental health professional education.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Centre for Health and Social Care Research
Identification Number: 10.1108/JMHTEP-02-2016-0010
Depositing User: Margaret Boot
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2016 10:59
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2016 11:00
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13854

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