chapter  Two
21 Pages

The lived experience of rehabilitation work with forensic patients in the community

A work discussion group with staff at a forensic hostel for residents with mental illness
ByAlla Rubitel

A hostel team faces a challenging task: to help their residents, who have been discharged from secure forensic settings, with their transition towards independent living in the community. This chapter focuses on some of the anxieties and difficulties encountered by hostel staff in their work with chronically mentally ill residents who have been convicted of crimes, as well as the way these difficulties are managed. Omnipotence is a solution to the anxiety of being under-resourced in the face of an impossible task. It is important for the team to recognize the defences and to understand that, at an unconscious level, the patients are worried that the staff might not be able to hold them in mind. The pursuit of knowledge is natural, and the desire to learn can be rekindled when paralysing anxiety, which inhibits learning, is identified and addressed by an interested and containing professional representing the caring aspects of an organization.