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Taking the ‘control’ out of ‘control and restraint’

Joy Duxbury(crop)Restraint Reduction Network Chair and leading mental health expert Professor Joy Duxbury explains why the language we use to describe restrictive interventions must change.

For some time now there has been a move towards minimising the use of restrictive interventions in health and social care settings.  Part of this is an attempt to reduce the use of restraint.

Despite ongoing lobbying and activity internationally for more than five years, the term ‘control and restraint’ is still widely used in the UK despite its ‘supposed disappearance’.  I hear the term used frequently in practice areas, by trainers, and still see conferences advertising a focus upon ‘control and restraint’ – which, to me, seems quite shocking.

I think if we are to truly change our thinking and rid ourselves of past unhelpful cultures, we must think very carefully about the language we continue to use.It has implications for our credibility, our ability to foster change and, most importantly, our reputation as a caring profession.

Using the word ‘control’ in this context, in the 21st century, is unforgiveable. Let’s, for goodness sake, aim to eradicate this dated and horrid term and take the ‘control’ out of ‘control and restraint’ as a matter of urgency.