BACKGROUND: Communication with individuals with mental disorder (IMDs) may often be a nonlinear, complex, and variable situation. In general, the first contact of nurses with IMDs occurs during training rotations at a psychiatric clinic. Psychiatric nursing students' initial communication experiences with IMDs may be critical to their thinking of psychiatric nursing as a career. AIM: To determine the communication experiences of psychiatric nursing students with IMDs. METHOD: A qualitative interview study was conducted with psychiatric nursing students studying at a nursing faculty in the east of Turkey in 2019 who completed the clinical practice. Semistructured interviews were conducted by an independent researcher. The data were analyzed using content analysis with an inductive approach. RESULTS: In this study, maximum effort was made for data saturation criteria, and data saturation was achieved with 26 students. As a result of the data analysis, four main themes and 11 categories were developed. The main themes were as follows: (1) restrictions caused by psychological barriers, (2) restrictions caused by thinking and perceptions, (3) restrictions caused by personal and behavioral barriers, and (4) effective communication and therapeutic environment. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, although it is seen that nursing students encounter many communication barriers with IMDs, it is an important development that they implement approaches to provide effective therapeutic communication. The results show the importance of effective nurse-patient communication skills as the first step in improving the clinical practice of nurses in psychiatry clinics.