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Coercion contexts—how compliance is achieved in interaction 

Coercion contexts—how compliance is achieved in interaction
Coercion contexts—how compliance is achieved in interaction

Stefan Sjöström

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date: 08 December 2021

A psychiatric patient may experience both involuntary and voluntary care at different times. Some voluntary patients perceive that their care involves coercion (‘coerced voluntaries’), while others subject to compulsion willingly accept care (‘uncoerced involuntaries’). It is increasingly recognized that patients’ awareness of the possibility of compulsory treatment can disable them from fully exercising their right to make decisions about treatment. This was first observed in inpatient environments, but also occurs when coercion is increasingly applied in community settings. The possibility of coercive measures being used is part of the situational context in which community psychiatric treatment occurs. This chapter discusses how staff might invoke ‘coercion contexts’ with non-compliant patients who may not be fully aware of what is and isn’t lawful. The chapter thus provides a framework for understanding the mechanisms of informal coercion in everyday interactions, including mismatches in patient perceptions about coercion and ambiguities over legal status.

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