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Framing recovery: A photo elicitation study of the experiences of service users within an in-reach Rehabilitation and Recovery Service

Smith, Penn ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7522-4461 and Madill, Anna (2021) Framing recovery: A photo elicitation study of the experiences of service users within an in-reach Rehabilitation and Recovery Service. In: BACP Research Conference, 15 May2021, Online. (Unpublished)

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Keywords: Photo Elicitation – Mental Health – Recovery – Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
– Qualitative Research

Aim/Purpose: The aim of this research was to provide an in-depth exploration into service users’ experiences of a Rehabilitation and Recovery Service for individuals with severe and enduring mental health needs.

Design/Methodology: Fifteen purposefully sampled service users were recruited across the Service. Photo elicitation was used to enrich data collection through one-to-one semi-structured interviews. Photo elicitation, first named in 1957 by John Collier, is a method in which participants are invited to take photographs in order to express their experiences around the topic of investigation (Harper, 2002). The photographs are then used in research interviews in order to facilitate detailed discussions. In this study, interviews were analysed using the thematic, qualitative method of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, Flowers, & Larkin, 2012).

Ethical Approval: NHS ethics approval was sought and granted on 12/04/2016 by Yorkshire and The Humber, Leeds East Research Ethics Committee, and Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LYPT) Research and Development office (REC Reference: 16/YH/0120/IRAS, Project ID:194985).

Results/Findings: The research found that service users value developing supportive, trusting relationships in recovery and fear the challenging effects of isolation and relapse. Service users seek greater awareness in how they can manage as an individual and look to staff to support the development of personal coping strategies. Service users’ desire to live an independent life is often hindered by social factors, such as stigma, which makes it difficult for them to gain a sense of belonging within society.

Research Limitations: Participants who found operating the technology overwhelming declined to be involved in the project and, therefore, this created a missed opportunity to hear from individuals who did not wish to engage with photography. Despite the in-depth nature of the sampling process, it could be argued that the research is limited due to recruitment taking part in one Service.

Conclusions/Implications: Photographs have facilitated service users to convey their lived experience in a creative format beyond words which involves both literal and metaphorical visual meanings. Main implications for recovery include the importance of building functioning relationships based on trust, respect, and empowerment, as well as supportive social networks. In addition, developing greater self-awareness of individual recovery was key.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Status: Unpublished
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/7530

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