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Beyond neutrality: professionals’ responses to clients’ indirect complaints in a Therapeutic Community for people with a diagnosis of mental illness

Pino, Marco; Mortari, Luigina

Authors

Marco Pino marco.pino75@gmail.com

Luigina Mortari



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’ non-neutrality
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.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2013
Journal Communication & Medicine
Electronic ISSN 1612-1783
Publisher De Gruyter
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 3
APA6 Citation Pino, M., & Mortari, L. (2013). Beyond neutrality: professionals’ responses to clients’ indirect complaints in a Therapeutic Community for people with a diagnosis of mental illness. Communication and Medicine, 10(3), doi:10.1558/cam.v10i3.213
DOI https://doi.org/10.1558/cam.v10i3.213
Keywords Conversation Analysis; indirect complaints;
mental health; neutrality; rehabilitation;
Therapeutic Community
Publisher URL http://www.equinoxpub.com/journals/index.php/CAM/article/view/14209
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0





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