Personal Philosophy of Mental Health Nursing

Topics: Psychiatry, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Psychology Pages: 9 (1856 words) Published: September 21, 2014

Personal Philosophy of Mental Health Nursing
Bonnie K. Wright
University of Charleston

Each individual has their own personal philosophy of mental health nursing. Throughout this paper there will be facts, and my personal thoughts. This is including the following topics; mental health, mental illness, continuum of mental health/mental illness, defense mechanisms, therapeutic tools, and self-awareness in the nurse. The words mental health placed together creates a definition of a person’s psychological and well-being of emotions. Each person’s definition may vary, but it boils down to the same raw meaning (Townsend, M. 2014). Mental health is evaluated at each doctor’s visit without the patient even knowing why the nurse or physician are asking certain questions. It is important to know in which state the patient’s emotions and mental health status is for their own safety.

Mental illness can vary from mild to severe cases, and can differ per illness. Anxiety, mood disorders, psychotic, and anorexia disorders are just a few classified as mental illnesses. There are early signs of mental illness that one could detect early enough to delay or get a better control on the illness. Withdrawal from others, heightened senses, no desire to have activities with others, extreme beliefs, nervousness, and appetite changes can be early signs of an illness. Many times it is the people surrounding the individual that notices a difference in their behavior (American Psychiatric Association, 2014).

Nobody will argue that mental health and mental illness are not closely related, they both talk about the persons mind, and the shape the mind is in. One can talk about mental health without mental illness being mentioned because everyone has mental health but not everyone has mental illness. Just the opposite for mental illness. It is not possible for one to say someone has a mental illness without stating their mental health status. Many people get these definitions confused. There are four phases of a therapeutic nurse-patient relationship: pre-interaction phase, orientation/introductory period, working, and termination phase (Townsend, M. 2014). Rapport, empathy, trust, and respect and requirements for a productive therapeutic nursing-patient relationship. The nurse should build rapport and trust with the patient so they will feel comfortable with the nurse and be more likely to open up. The nurse can use many different communication techniques such as recognition, making observations, focusing, voicing doubt, and exploring just to name a few of the many therapeutic techniques. The nurse should avoid giving advice, probing, defending, or interpreting for the patient, this may cause the patient to shut down and all trust is gone (Bischko, D. 1998).

In everyday life we use a wide variety of defense mechanisms to protect our feelings, deflect unwanted situations, and hide our inner thoughts and feelings. Suppression may be felt when one is voluntarily denying unwanted feelings such as losing one’s job and not caring if the bills will be paid. Displacement is when a person’s unwanted feelings are targeted toward a person, situation or object; if a person is upset they may take their anger out on an object and feel better once it is destroyed. Dissociation, idealization, splitting, projection, and denial are also common forms of defense mechanisms (Sommer, S., Johnson, J. 2013).

Adaptation is when one can adapt to a situation over time and maladaptation is when adjustment to the situation is not adequate or appropriate. When someone’s mind is not in the best mental health, they may have issues with adaptation to situations or changes. A person with a healthy mind may have some issues coping with certain situations, and it could be assumed that one with a mental illness would have higher difficulty coping (Rippetow, P., Rogers, R. 2012).

The nurse-patient relationship should be an interpersonal...

References: American Psychiatric Association, (2014). Warning Signs of Mental Illness. Retrieved September 21, 2014, from
Bischko, D. (1998). The art of nursing: the client-nurse relationship as a therapeutic tool. Olympia, Washington. Retrieved September 19, 2014, from
Rippetow, P., Rogers, R. (2012). Effects of components of protection-motivation theory on adaptive and maladaptive coping with a health threat. Retrieved September 21, 2014, from
Seven Counties Services, 2014. Hope Happens Here: Mental Health in Older Adults. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from
Sommer, S., Johnson, J., Roberts, K., Redding, S. (2013). RN Mental Health Nursing-Foundations for Mental Health Nursing: Stress and Defense Mechanisms. P 29-32.
Therapeutic Communication in Psychiatric Nursing. (2013). Retrieved September 21, 2014, from
Townsend, M. (2014). Essentials of psychiatric mental health nursing: concepts of care in evidence-based practice. P. 3, 17-19. Philadelphia, PA.
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