Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Mental health facilities-Employees, Mental health personnel-Psychology, Child psychotherapy-Residential treatment, Adolescent psychotherapy-Residential treatment, Restraint of patients-Psychological aspects, Meaning (Psychology), Residential treatment facility, Direct care workers, RFT workers, Meaning making, Physical restraints


The purpose of this study was to explore the individual experiences of Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) workers utilizing physical restraints as an intervention with children, specifically looking at potential impact of these experiences, as well as the subsequent meaning making process. This exploratory study employed phenomenological qualitative methods of in-depth interviewing with six participants, creating a space through which these individuals were able to share their personal and collective narratives of working in RTFs. The data gathered through the phenomenological interview process displayed five salient and unanimous themes amongst the participants: the significance of their motivation for becoming a RTF worker, the uniqueness of each worker's experience, the importance of balancing the personal with the professional, the range of dynamic roles of RTF workers, and hope as the main factor in generating motivation and sustainability. Not only does this research study begin to shed light upon the significantly understudied and undervalued experiences of RTF workers, but it also created a space through which these individuals were able to have their voices heard and reflect upon the meaning this work has had in their lives in a way they had not previously experienced.




iii, 62 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 51-55)