The aim of this qualitative study was to gain an understanding of what it means to have an involuntary hospital admission. A sample of six people who were detained at an approved Irish mental health centre consented to recount their experiences were interviewed. The interview transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Three superordinate themes were identified: The early days', Experiences of treatment' and Moving on?'. The early days' represented participants' initial feelings and opinions of the experience of coming into the approved centre. Experiences of treatment' refers to participants' experiences of medication and relationships with staff. Finally, the theme Moving on?' represented participants' views on how they adjusted to involuntary admission. Learning the way' was central to the participants' notion of moving on. The findings suggest that the meaning of detention is a varied one that evokes an array of emotional responses for participants and highlights the need for a renewed way of thinking and doing concerning those subject to involuntary.