DOI: 10.1111/jpm.13025 ISSN: 1351-0126

‘To loosen up and talk’: Patients´ and facilitators´ experiences of discovery group sessions from the Tidal Model as an introduction before engaging in a person‐centred group intervention

Anne Benzon, Rikke Jørgensen
  • Pshychiatric Mental Health

Accessible Summary

What is known about the subject

Treatment groups in Mental Health Service is cost‐effective, increases patients´ self‐understanding and stimulate change

Research shows that people with mental illness have different barriers to attend group sessions which often originates from a lack of trust in other people, but it is known that the possibility to build gradual trust among the participants encourages attendance.

What the paper adds to existing knowledge

This study is based on the experience from outpatients and illuminates how discovery groups from the Tidal Model can be used as introductory sessions to build gradual trust among people with mental illness before engaging in a person‐centred group intervention.

The study fills a research gap in methods to create a safe and trusting environment in treatment groups for people with mental illness working with recovery‐oriented person‐centred interventions.

What are the implications for practice

This study emphasizes the importance of meeting concerns about social interactions in persons with mental illness when joining treatment groups. It presents a recovery‐oriented method which meets this requirement and is easy to implement in practice.



Recovery‐oriented interventions delivered individually or in groups are more and more common within mental health nursing. However, persons with mental illness may be cautious about engaging in groups. Therefore, it is important to provide a trusting basis in the group to allow for the best opportunities to promote engagement, attendance and impact of treatment.


The aim was to explore how discovery group sessions were experienced as introductory sessions from the perspectives of participants and facilitators before engaging in a person‐centred group intervention.


A qualitative interview study was conducted, involving four group facilitators and 16 participants with mental illness from five completed groups. Data were analysed with Ricoeur's theory of interpretation.


The findings showed that the two discovery group sessions were experienced as useful and meaningful to all and created a safe atmosphere and a trusted relationship among group participants and facilitators.


Feeling safe and sharing experiences and emotions contribute to the relational climate in a group.

Implication for practice

Addressing concerns about social interactions in persons with mental illness is important in group treatment. This study proved that engaging patients in designing or adapting interventions for mental health services is important to improve quality.

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