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Exploring connectedness: The meaning of transition experiences for patients within a forensic psychiatric service

Penelope Kinney


Kinney, P. (2011) Exploring connectedness: The meaning of transition experiences for patients within a forensic psychiatric service (A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Occupational Therapy at the Otago Polytechnic) [PDF 1.015MB]


Literature highlights transitions as being significant in a person’s life. Occupational therapy literature relating to transition and transition plans suggests that occupation, and the personal meaning of it, is central during life transitions.

This Heideggerian phenomenological hermeneutic study explores the lived experience of those patients transitioning from a secure unit to an open rehabilitation ward within a forensic psychiatric service. An interpretation of the narratives of five males, aged between 23 and 37 years of age, in six interviews, is presented. Interviews could occur at three stages; prior to transition commencing; during their transition plan; and between two and four week after their plan had completed.

The purpose of this study is to understand and describe the meanings attached to the transition process these men underwent. Four themes emerged from the interviews: 'Being-in-the-world of being free’, 'Stepping Stones’, 'Doing what you have to, to prove yourself’ and, 'Assistance comes in many forms’. These are discussed along with their subthemes. The discussion suggests connectedness to the process is central to undergoing transition. It explores the importance of connections to occupation, place, and people, when developing connectedness to the transition process.

Implications for practice for health professionals and particularly occupational therapists are outlined, along with limitations of the study and suggested future research directions. 



This work has a Creative Commons licence Attibution-Non-Commercial-NoDeriviatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).


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