Control and restraint changing thinking, practice and policy

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The term control and restraint (C&R) has been in common use in mental health practice for the past 20 years. This article explores the appropriateness of its continued use, drawing briefly on frame theory–a subtype of discourse analysis. The authors conclude that, apart from a brief period in the 1980s, when the prison service oversaw training in physical interventions in the NHS, there has been confusion over the meaning of the term. Its continued use reflects an attribution whereby the primary source of violence is seen as ‘within’ the patient, instead of being seen as ‘co-created’, a more appropriate view in light of the public health model of violence prevention. However, any change in language must be accompanied by a shift in thinking and practice. The article puts forward a rationale for stopping the use of the term and calls for a radical change and the adoption of restraint reduction as a policy objective
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-20
Number of pages5
JournalMental Health Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


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