The quality of the relationship between professional and user is one of the important factors in the recovery process. However, more knowledge is needed concerning the components of helping relationships and characteristics of the helping professional. The aim of this study was to explore users' experiences of helping relationships with professionals.
This was a grounded theory analysis of 71 qualitative interviews to explore users' experience of helping relationships and their components, in psychiatric care in Sweden.
Within the three main categories - interpersonal continuity, emotional climate and social interaction - two core themes were found that described vital components of helping relationships: a non-stigmatizing attitude on the part of the professionals and their willingness to do something beyond established routines.
The focus in psychiatric treatment research needs to be broadened. In addition to research on the outcome of particular methods and interventions, the common factors also need to be investigated, above all, what is the effect of the quality of the relationship between user and professional. Greater attention needs to be paid, as well, to how helping respective obstructive relationships in psychiatric services arise, are maintained or are modified.