Staff splitting is a complicated thing, but it does happen all the time in behavioral therapy. The environment here does not create the phenomenon, nor does it make it possible, it just happens to match the circumstances necessary for it to occur. Staff splitting, then, is something that happens in treatment programs, and this discussion will focus a bit on what this actually means, and what the implications are.
Staff splitting is a term that comes from psychoanalysis, where the patient makes conscious and unconscious distinctions, just as in any normal thinking process where discrimination is necessary. Except in these cases, it becomes abnormal because there is no rational basis in thought. There are things that are place in the good category, and others placed in the bad, and those are ignored entirely, usually. This suggests that it’s origins come simply from a coping mechanism to avoid that which is unpleasant, and is the psyche’s attempts to keep out the things that threaten it.
In therapy, it’s much more concrete, but still somewhat ethereal. A patient will begin their recovery and meet some professionals whom they like, and some that they don’t. They’ll put them into two categories again, good and bad, and treat them in manners consistent with their feelings. For the staff, they will unconsciously internalize these judgments, and some will feel the patient is perfectly wonderful, and others will see the patient as impossible. The staff is split.
In cases of addictive personalities, there are similarities to any kind of disorder that is characterized by complexes of manipulation. The addict is also prone to enormous changes in mood, without even realizing it, and these factors can all contribute to the staff splitting. Again, some will perceive the patient as kind and doing their best to get better and participate, and others will see their behavior as entirely problematic, and in need of more severe treatment. In these cases, then, the best course of action to take is to create more dialogue and communication among the staff, so that they can get a whole picture of the patient, and then start developing the course of action that can facilitate the recovery.