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2020-124: Continued development of experiential expertise in forensic mental health care


Assuming that the use of experts by experience in forensic psychiatry contributes to the quality of client care, the preliminary study 'continued development of experiential expertise in forensic mental health care' was aimed at gaining insight into what is needed to implement and secure the
'Manual Experience Expertise in Forensic Mental Health Care’. For this purpose, the experiences and use of the manual were screened, in order to give advice on the content and use of this manual. In addition, the context in which this manual was used was also examined, in order to identify the implications for optimizing the context in question. This research builds on the research report delivered in 2017 (KFZ project call 2016-47) in which the effects and application possibilities of experts by experience within forensic mental health care were investigated. The recommendations from this study have resulted in the manual. The current study started with a desk research and a survey to generate an update on the use of the manual among the organizations that participated in 2017. Subsequently, three focus groups
were organized: two focus groups with experts by experience and one focus group of nonexperienced healthcare professionals. The aim of the focus groups was to go in-depth knowledge by asking participants to reflect on the use of the manual and to collect factors that contribute to an optimal context in which to work with this manual and experts by experience in general. We can conclude that the greatest potential for improvement lies in drawing attention to the added value of working with the manual and working with experiential experts in forensic psychiatry. The manual is not yet known by many. When this knowledge increases, it is recommended to emphasize the relevance of the various steps. Integral management participation for a successful implementation is essential. In order to keep the expertise as expertise and profession pure, it is important to organize autonomous meeting opportunities for the employees concerned. No unanimous position was measured with regard to the required preliminary education and experience. The common belief was that experts by experience must be ready with their own recovery process and must be free from probation involvement. The criterion of being able to submit a ‘VOG’ at the start of an employment contract appears to be a threshold for many experts by experience to be able to work as an expert by experience. Exceptionally, offering an alternative route where no ‘VOG’ is required would facilitate the implementation of the concept of experts by experience.

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