"Purpose: This study aims to explore the perspectives of psychiatrists with lived experiences and what their considerations are upon integrating the personal into the professional realm.
Design/methodology/approach: As part of a qualitative participatory research approach, participant observations during two years in peer supervision sessions (15 sessions with 8 psychiatrists with lived experiences), additional interviews as part of member feedback and a focus group were thematically analysed.
Findings: Although the decision to become a psychiatrist was often related to personal experiences with mental distress and some feel the need to integrate the personal into the professional, the actual use of lived experiences appears still in its early stages of development. Findings reveal three main considerations related to the personal (3.1), professionality (3.2) and clinical relevance (3.3) comprising 11 facilitators and 9 barriers to harness lived experiences.
Research limitations/implications: This study was conducted locally and there are no similar comparable studies known. It was small in its size due to its qualitative nature and with a homogeneous group and therefore may lack generalisability.
Practical implications: Future directions to further overcome shame and stigma and discover the potential of lived experiences are directed to practice, education and research.
Originality/value: Psychiatrists with lived experiences valued the integration of experiential knowledge into the professional realm, even though being still under development. The peer supervision setting in this study was experienced as a safe space to share personal experiences with vulnerability and suffering rather than a technical disclosure. It re-sensitised participants to their personal narratives, unleashing its demystifying, destigmatising and humanising potential."