Date of Conferral







Jane Lyons


Individuals who receive residential mental health services rely on caregivers for support, supervision, and a safe living environment. Residential clients exposed to workplace conflict among staff may feel insecure and mistrust their caregivers, which in turn could negatively impact quality of life and treatment outcomes. The theory of therapeutic alliance proposed by Zetzel, emphasizing the client's perception of the therapist as a nurturing beneveolent figure, was used as the conceptual framework for this phenomenological study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 6 adults, recruited with homogenious sampling, who had experienced conflict among staff members and who had been discharged from residential mental health services within the last two years. Participants were asked about treatment satisfaction and perceptions of their safety while in treatment. Open-coding, categorizing, and interpretation were used to create theoretical categories for interpretation and analysis. The themes that emerged in situations involving staff conflict included reporting of increased mental health symptoms, feeling ignored by staff, feeling fear, perceiving their basic needs as unmet, and noticing staff splitting. The social change implications of this study include findings can be used to benefit the clients of these facilities and also staff through education about how relationships among staff members impact treatment; these findings may result in improved treatment outcomes that would benefit not only the clients and their families, but also the staff and facility through improved treatment outcomes and satisfaction. In turn, improved mental health outcomes benefit society in general through reduced financial costs and increased productivity.