Social work research and IPA: A contemporary study into approved mental health practice. “Pull”: the active use of dissonance

Vicary, Sarah (2017). Social work research and IPA: A contemporary study into approved mental health practice. “Pull”: the active use of dissonance. In: 1st International Conference on IPA, 21-22 May 2017, Glasgow, UK.

Abstract

This paper reports research which set out to understand what impact, if any, professional background might have on approved mental health practice, a legally determined social work role, exploring the emotional aspects of the work as experienced by participants. Drawn from each of the eligible professions, participants were each asked to draw a picture of their role experience and to describe this during a semi-structured interview. IPA, a little used methodology in social work research, underpinned the design. Approved mental health practice is undertaken instrumentally but what also happens during its accomplishment is a cognitive and affective appraisal of the processes involved requiring its practitioners to simultaneously manage being determined and undetermined or, dissonance. The active use of dissonance is a fundamental aspect of approved mental health practice and of its practitioners; the capacity irrespective of professional background to simultaneously balance both cognitively and affectively all aspects of the processes which arise, including how it is experienced.The use of IPA fits well with exploring the experiential and it is suggested should be more actively used as a methodology in social work research.

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