The experiences and perceived changes of Chinese ex-mental patients attending a holistic psychiatric rehabilitation programme: A qualitative study

A. L. Luk, Tan Lei Shek

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The paper reports a study on the subjective experiences and perceived personal changes of Chinese ex-mental patients attending a psychiatric holistic rehabilitation programme. The programme adopted a self-help group approach in which holistic aspects of physical, psycho-social and spiritual needs are emphasized. There are different rehabilitation programmes for chronic mental patients. However, spiritual element is not consciously included in most of these programmes. Furthermore, few studies document the changes of participants attending psychiatric rehabilitation adopting self-help and holistic care principles. A qualitative approach using an in-depth interview was adopted. A total of 20 members from the programme, which was about one-sixth of all the regular group members were recruited. All interviews were audiotaped and transcribed. Data were coded, categorized and developed to different themes using content analysis. Totally, there were 52 themes developed from the data. However, only 13 themes on experiences in the group and nine themes on the perceived personal changes were reported. By attending the programme, participants had positive feelings and gained many positive learning opportunities when interacting with peers. Interacting with group counsellors was also very beneficial to them. Though there were only some improvements physically, there were clear perceived positive changes in the psychological, social and spiritual dimensions. These findings are consistent with those found in the quantitative measures reported previously. The subjective experiences of the participants were positive and they perceived positive personal changes after joining the group. The findings support the effectiveness of the long-term nature of self-help group. Furthermore, the holistic programme helps members rediscover meaning and purpose of life and the religious practices in the group can be regarded to be a protective factor to stress not only to those believers but also to the non-believers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-457
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Ex-mental patient
  • Holistic care
  • Psychiatric rehabilitation
  • Self-help group
  • Spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health

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