A refreshing change : perspectives of health improvement practitioners in Aotearoa New Zealand : a reflexive thematic analysis : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand

Thumbnail Image
Open Access Location
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Massey University
The Author
New Zealand is integrating mental health and addiction services into primary care, in line with global trends. Health Improvement Practitioners (HIPs), registered healthcare professionals, provide Focused Acceptance and Commitment Therapy-based interventions to patients with mild-to-moderate mental health care needs. With brief, unscheduled appointments, the HIP model is a new way to deliver psychological services. New Zealand literature on the programme is limited, and no (known) studies have explicitly focused on the HIP practitioner’s perspective. To understand how HIPs experience the role, what aspects work well for them and what aspects less well, ten HIPs (nine female; one male) from practices throughout New Zealand were interviewed. Analysis was guided by Braun and Clarke’s reflexive approach to thematic analysis - primarily inductive and oriented to experiential meaning. The analysis produced five main themes: ‘It took time to fully embrace the model’, ‘I feel satisfied at the end of my day’, ‘When it's busy, its good’, ‘Promoting the role is a burden’, ‘It’s given me a bit of a spring in my step’. Findings indicated HIPs are satisfied with their role but find promotion tasks burdensome. Not having enough clients negatively impacts HIPs' experience of their role. Low referrals may arise from a lack of training/understanding of the HIP role among the practice team (who refer to the HIP service). Future research could be directed here. The HIP programme has many strengths, is supported by a motivated and optimistic workforce, and is providing New Zealanders with a refreshing change in the mental health and wellbeing space.