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Title: Beyond neutrality: professionals’ responses to clients’ indirect complaints in a Therapeutic Community for people with a diagnosis of mental illness
Authors: Pino, Marco
Mortari, Luigina
Keywords: Conversation analysis
Indirect complaints
Mental health
Therapeutic Community
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: © Equinox Publishing Ltd
Citation: PINO, M. and MORTARI, L., 2014. Beyond neutrality: professionals’ responses to clients’ indirect complaints in a Therapeutic Community for people with a diagnosis of mental illness. Communication & Medicine, 10 (3), pp.213-224.
Abstract: Previous research has evidenced that in different institutional settings professionals are cautious when responding to clients’ indirect complaints and tend to avoid siding either with the clients/ complainants or the complained-of absent parties. In this article we use the method of Conversation Analysis to explore professional responses to clients’ indirect complaints in the context of a Therapeutic Community (TC) for people with diagnoses of mental illness in Italy. Although the TC staff members sometimes display a neutral orientation toward the clients’ complaints, as is the case in other institutional settings, in some instances they take a stance toward the clients’ complaints, either by distancing themselves or by overtly disaffiliating from them. We argue that these practices reflect the particular challenges of an institutional setting in which professionals engage with clients on a daily basis, have an institutional mandate of watching over them and are responsible for their safety. According to this interpretation, staff members’ nonneutrality toward clients’ complaints can be seen as a way of defending against the possibility, raised by the clients’ reports, that the staff members might be involved, albeit indirectly, in courses of action that have harmed or might harm the clients.
Description: This work was published as Open Access, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Version: Published
DOI: 10.1558/cam.v10i3.213
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/19003
Publisher Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1558/cam.v10i3.213
ISSN: 1612-1783
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Social Sciences)

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