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The Clients’ Perspective – Do military uniform and rank impact on the therapeutic relationship between military mental health clients and clinicians
  1. SSgt MM Wilson, QARANC RMN, RGN, CPN (Specialist Practitioner), BSc (Hons), Community Mental Health Nurse1 and
  2. PD McAllister, Consultant Psychiatrist2
  1. 1Department of Community Mental Health, Catterick, UK
  2. 2Department of Community Mental Health, Tidworth, UK
  1. Duchess of Kent Hospital, Department of Community Mental Health, Horne Road, Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire DL9 4DF 01748 873058 5742wilson{at}armynet.com

Abstract

Objective To measure the perception of military mental health clients of the impact of wearing military uniform on the therapeutic relationship between client and clinician and to ascertain if uniform and rank is perceived as a barrier.

Method A brief questionnaire was distributed to Departments of Community Mental Health to be disseminated to theirmental health clients to measure their responses.

Results 282 responses from mental health clients were collected over a 30 day period regarding the impact that military uniform makes to the therapeutic relationship with the clinician. 63%(n=178) regarded uniform as negatively influencing their relationship with the clinician, 37% (n=104) responded that it did not. 39% (n=111) believed rank to be a barrier, whereas 61% (n=171) did not believe it affected the relationship.

Conclusion The majority of military mental health clients regard the wearing of uniform as negative to the therapeutic relationship and a significant minority have similar feelings about rank. Military mental health practitioners should consider the impact of these results on the therapeutic relationship with military patients.

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