Twenty-four clinicians (five psychiatrists, five registered nurses, and
14 counselors) participated in a psychophenomenological study of the
decision-making process in assessing clients for involuntary psychiatric
hospital admission. In interviews, the clinicians were asked to describe a
situation in which the admission assessment was especially difficult.
Analysis of the interviews identified nine essential structural elements of
the decision-making process: systematic and individualized process,
state-mandated criteria, investigation of alternatives, decision not made
alone, intuitive reasoning, connection with the client, caution, and
inability to control all contingencies.