Complementary Therapies in Social Psychiatry

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Background: Danish municipalities offer rehabilitative care and support for people with severe mental illness, and the rehabilitation involves a recovery-orientated focus. International studies show that the use of complementary therapies (CT) is higher among persons with mental disorders than in the population at large, and rumors say that several psychiatric residential homes in Denmark offer various CT like massage and ear-acupuncture.
Purpose: This project examines the prevalence of CT in psychiatric residential homes, explores residents and employees experience with these interventions, and investigates if and how residents and employees find CT relevant in recovery processes.
Methods: The study use mixed methods including participant observation, interviews, questionnaires and focus groups in four strategically selected psychiatric residential homes in two regions of Denmark. Data were collected from January to October 2017 and content analysis and descriptive and analytical statistics were made.
Findings: CT are used in various ways; as integral rehabilitative intervention, acute treatment, as alternative to PN medication, in therapeutic courses, and as body-mind interventions. Ear-acupuncture is most commonly used (38 %) followed by music therapy (37 %). 40 % of respondents “strongly agree” that CT strengthens their recovery process and physical symptoms are the main reason for using CT. In relation to recovery, employees emphasize CT as a learning possibility and a way to normalization.
Conclusion: CT are common in psychiatric residential homes and both employees and residents believes such interventions to strengthen a recovery process. In rehabilitation, CT offers a holistic approach working with both physical and mental symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventInternational Integrative Nursing Symposium. - Galway, Ireland
Duration: 22 May 201924 May 2019
Conference number: 3rd


ConferenceInternational Integrative Nursing Symposium.
Internet address


  • psychiatry
  • social psychiatry

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