Blurred roles and permeable boundaries: the experience of multidisciplinary working in community mental health

Health Soc Care Community. 2000 Nov;8(6):425-435. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2524.2000.00268.x.


This paper reports on an investigation of three interdisciplinary mental health teams. The discussion of the responses highlights the boundaries that exist between different professional roles and areas of responsibility. Whereas there is some evidence of role blurring, which was welcomed by a few respondents, others sought to preserve their own professional identity within the multidisciplinary environment. In a paradoxical sense, the lack of managerial direction and the encouragement of generic working seemed to make some respondents all the more insistent on separate professional identities. We conclude that, far from being a relic of the past or a product of 'ingrained attitudes', boundaries between professions are actively encouraged by the experience of interdisciplinary modes of working.