Patiënt-staff meeting, ideologie en praktijk
Patient-staff meetings, also known as community meetings or ward meetings, are a common feature in modern psychiatry though not without their problems and controversies. An attempt to explain the apparent ambivalency of professionals toward this method is undertaken through a review of the literature. Early publications parallel patient-staff meetings with the ideology of the therapeutic community and are of an optimistic and descriptive nature. Precious little empirical process analysis has been done on this topic. The few existing studies reveal only certain fragmentary details. More recently, psychoanalytic group theories have been applied to these community meetings. Due to the large group's threat to the identity of the individual, regression is likely to occur in both patients and staff. This and the deliberate blurring of role behaviour that is typical for these meetings, may lead to collusive denial of patient-staff differences and potenties. The meeting as such cannot achieve its goals and may also have consequences for the treatment as a whole.
The author therefore concludes that the patient-staff meetings should only be effectuated if the programme also offers good outlets for reality testing such as small group psychotherapy for patients and thorough supervision for the staff. Careful investigation of the application of community meetings in the psychiatrie hospital, and especially of the utilization of defence mechanisme by patients and staff, is recommended.