The Context of Mental Health Nursing

  • Derek Milne
Part of the Psychology Applied to Nursing book series (PAN)


One of the truisms of psychology is that the things we observe occur in a context: behaviour does not take place in a vacuum. All the models considered in Chapter 1 emphasised the relationship between behaviour and important events going on inside or outside the client. For the psychodynamic model this may consist of unconscious processes such as ‘denial’, while for the behaviourist the onus is placed on events taking place around the patient, such as social activities. Despite such differences, they both share the view that the individual’s behaviour occurs for a reason outside the individual’s knowledge or control, and is not simply the result of ‘free will’. It follows that behaviour can only be properly understood in the light of those factors known to influence it. The models disagree about the nature of these influences, but not about their existence or importance. These factors are the context for everyone’s behaviour, whether we are clients, nurses or psychologists. Examples of these different models of therapy are to be found in Chapter 6.


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Further Reading

  1. Those references listed are a mixture of general texts and detailed research studies, which you might like to pursue. In addition, here are some relevant resourcesGoogle Scholar
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  6. West, J. and Spinks, P. (1988). Clinical Psychology in Action. London: Wright. This edited book presents first-hand reports of what clinical psychologists do in the NHS.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Derek Milne 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Derek Milne
    • 1
  1. 1.Northumberland District Psychology ServiceUniversity of NewcastleUpon TyneUK

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