The myth of the well-known client

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Publication details

Lakeman, R 2018, 'The myth of the well-known client', Issues in Mental Health Nursing.

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Peer Reviewed



A common idiomatic phrase in mental health care is "well known" client, patient, or service user. This phrase is often followed by "to mental health services" or some such, suggesting that a "service" can really know anything. Notwithstanding mental health services, especially public ones are a repository for a lot of information, such as facts about people, their service use, diagnosis, notes and assessments of various kinds; this conglomeration of information is not knowing, any more than a library may be "knowing". Knowing is a distinctly human activity. This paper will argue that this phrase is arrogant, a signifier of ignorance and ought to be relegated to history or back room banter with phrases like "frequent flyer", "bed seeker" and other derogatory and objectifying language.

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