Tag Archives: therapeutic relationships

Personalisation: Where are we going?

This post is by Mark Jukes Reader in Learning Disabilities at BCU – (technical problems are getting in the way of my being able to credit him properly)

In mental health and learning disability nursing what does Personalisation mean and what impact does this new wave of ideology and policy have on nurses? 

In the context of mental health and learning disability services, Personalisation accommodates mental health promotion and maintenance: having choice and control over one’s life contributes to well-being. Personalisation is about meeting the needs of individuals in ways that work best for them,(Carr, 2008)

In specialist mental health and learning disability nursing there appears to be a number of competing paradigms in terms of how our clients are perceived.  For those nurses who suscribe to a psychodynamic/behavioural school of practice how does personalisation fit, when after all, Carl Rogers has influenced person-centred practice?

So if determinism is part of your frame of reference for therapeutic relationships, where does the concept of freedom of choice feature in the eyes of mental health and learning disability nurses, who are required to promote individualism,where a full range of psychosocial interventions can be delivered?

Skills need to be developed by professionals so that genuine person-centred assessments incorporating the person’s own view of their needs become the norm.


a father and son sit on the floor and talk

Supplementary prescribing is another area where in developing clinical management plans – concordance of medication is strongly advised from such prescribers, but where the client may see things differently in terms of personal choice and not wishing to endure adverse side effects!

Additionally, how can we apply the concept of person-centred practice across secure settings, in prisons and young offenders institutions? where a balance is required to be achieved between order and freewill. There are particular concerns about the management of risk in certain situations for people choosing to opt for a personal budget,(Spandler,2007).

In communities, individuals who attain either individual or shared tenancies and therefore become tenants not clients in residential care – how do we safeguard against vulnerabilities where the evidence clearly identifies hate crime on the increase for individuals who are vulnerable,yet perceived by society as having equal status and rights when living independently?

I suggest we need to take seriously the fact that personalisation is now in the mainstream and as mental health and learning disability nurses. As a Profession we need to decide how best to move forward with our clients whilst developing new ways of working  across agencies (such as housing consortias) whilst remaining responsive to possible negative effects on clients in a variety of situations and environments.


Carr S (2008) “Personalisation: a rough guide” SCIE, www.scie.org.uk/publications

Spandler H (2007) Individualised Funding,social inclusion & the politics of mental health.Journal of Critical Psychological Counselling,7 (1): 18-27.