“Talking” psychological therapies with people who have intellectual disabilities: do we need more focus upon social inclusion?
This debate and discussion will focus upon talking psychological therapies with people with intellectual disabilities. We will consider whether adapting psychological therapies for use with people who have intellectual disabilities should include an increased focus upon social issues. This includes a range of issues such as poverty, stigma, bullying, labelling, and broadly, all forms of social exclusion throughout our shared society. Whether therapists consider this effectively within the therapeutic process will be discussed and debated. The likely benefits of an increased focus upon methods to promote social inclusion within psychological therapies for people with intellectual disabilities will be considered.
Peter completed his undergraduate degree in psychology at Memorial University of Newfoundland. He was awarded a Lord Rothermere Fellowship and qualified as a clinical psychologist in 2000 from the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London. He completed his PhD at the Tizard Centre, University of Kent as an NIHR Research Fellow. He then completed an NIHR funded postdoctoral fellowship. He has worked as a clinician with people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities for more than 20 years, and is a non-medical approved clinician as defined with the Mental Health Act within England and Wales currently working within Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust in England. Peter has completed a variety of funded research projects involving people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities with a focus upon testing talking psychological therapies. These include a randomised control trial of group cognitive behavioural therapy for people with Asperger Syndrome who also have problems with anxiety, and more recently with colleagues, other trials of psychological therapies for anxiety, trauma, and phobias. Peter is the co-convenor of RADiANT (ReseArch in DevelopmentAl NeuropsychiaTry) together with Professor Regi Alexander, Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust. RADiANT is a consortium of NHS service providers which works in collaboration with academics in a number of universities. It seeks advice from service users, patients, families, charities, community leaders and a range of statutory bodies and organisations. RADiANT focuses on mental health and behavioural issues associated with five developmental conditions- Intellectual Disability (ID), Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Epilepsy (EPI) and Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). It is hosted by Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT).
Carlo Schuengel is Professor of Clinical Child and Family Studies at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VUA), The Netherlands. He is co-director of the Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute and leads the Academic Collaborative Center of ‘s Heeren Loo – VUA.
Carlo aims to contribute insight into family relationships, the development of mental health and resilience, and interventions that can support at risk parents and other caregivers in fostering high quality relationships with children. This goal is pursued by a combination of research on the Generations longitudinal pregnancy cohort study, creation and synthesis of practice based and research based evidence, and intervention studies in partnership with intervention services and care organisations that support families, children, and people with disabilities. Attachment theory has been a major theoretical basis for this work since the research program started in 2000. His work within the field of people with intellectual disabilities contributes to the themes of autonomy, family life and relationships, and supporting the development of socioemotional functioning.
A developmental perspective on mental health problems and challenging behaviour not only underscores the importance of psychosocial support for children and families but also provide novel avenues for therapeutic intervention by addressing the expectations that people with intellectual disability have of important people in their lives.
Biza Stenfert Kroese is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and a Senior Researcher in the School of Psychology at the University of Birmingham, UK, and Chair of CanDo, a support service for parents with intellectual disabilities. She is co-author of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for People with Intellectual Disabilities: Thinking Creatively (Palgrave Macmillan 2017). Much of her work is focused on how to adapt psychological assessment and treatment methods to the needs of clients with intellectual disabilities and her research and publications on trauma and talking therapies are informed by her clinical experiences and practice. She is currently a co-investigator for a clinical research trial of EMDR for adults with intellectual disabilities with complex trauma and is chief investigator for a feasibility study on introducing an emotional literacy programme into SEND schools.
Stijn Vandevelde is an associate professor at the Department of Special Needs Education (“Orthopedagogics”) at Ghent University. His research interests include strengths-based support of people in vulnerable situations, including persons with intellectual disabilities (ID) and mental health problems. The role of emotional development in the onset of mental health problems and, even more importantly, in how to support persons with ID is a key focus in his research. The integrative perspective of emotional development, pioneered by Anton Dosen, facilitates looking at what lies beyond observable behavior. Hence, it helps us to focus on what is important for the people we support. The emotional development framework also enables us to look differently at “challenging behaviour”, and it might stimulate us to change the environment, rather than trying to change the people we support.
More information will follow soon
Professor Andrew Jahoda (University of Glasgow) will be leading the debate about mental health. The debate will include discussion about ways of ensuring that interventions are relevant to the life circumstances and challenges faced by people with intellectual disabilities, and the importance of trying to make a real difference to the quality of their lives and relationships.In addition to his academic work, Andrew has a continuing role as a clinical psychologist in services for people with intellectual disabilities. A key strand of his research concerns the adaptation and delivery of psychological therapies (Anger Management, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Behavioural Activation and Guided Self-Help) for people with intellectual disabilities. He has been involved in large scale randomised control trials of psychological interventions, including group anger management. People’s emotional difficulties are both influenced by and have an impact on their everyday lives and relationships. While Andrew has examined how factors like social exclusion and stigma affect people with intellectual disabilities’ sense of wellbeing, his research also concerns ways of creating community and counteracting prejudice. These are pressing issues for our debate. .