A Qualitative Study on the Experiences of Therapists who Have Been Threatened with Harm or Attacked by a Client or a Relative of a Client During the Course of Treatment in a Non-Residential Setting

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Virginia Tech

This qualitative study used a phenomenological approach to understand the experience of six therapists who had been threatened with harm or attacked by a client or a relative of a client in an outpatient setting. Semi-structured interviews were employed to collect data which were then analyzed using thematic coding. While some of the results of this study are consistent with existing literature on attacks on clinicians in acute inpatient settings, many of the study findings suggest that the experiences of therapists working in an outpatient setting who are threatened by a client or a relative of client are unique to that setting. Clinical implications are discussed.

client threats, client violence, dangerous clients, client aggression, client attacks