A qualitative investigation of the therapeutic relationship in the facilitation of empowerment in psychological therapy for adults with learning disabilities
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AbstractBackground Many authors in the field of adult learning disabilities have described the challenges experienced by clinicians in obtaining evidence regarding the effectiveness of psychological therapies for this particular client group (e.g. it can be a costly, lengthy, time-consuming process) (Taylor, Lindsay, Hastings & Hatton, 2013). Gaps also exist in the area of social justice and empowerment in relation to this population, which has historically experienced significant inequalities. This research intended to contribute to the current information available for researchers and psychological practitioners and to focus upon particular practical issues highlighted as important to the service-users, therapists and support workers within a single UK NHS service. The aims of this research project were: 1. To investigate what factors clients with learning disabilities find most helpful and empowering in the psychological therapy received from psychological therapists. 2. To ascertain how the therapeutic relationship affects psychological well-being within a learning disabled population, as facilitated by their therapists and support workers. 3. To explore the importance of support workers’ involvement in providing support with psychotherapeutic work for PWLD. 4. To consider how empowerment is experienced and conceptualised by the main stakeholders in the therapeutic encounter, between PWLD, their therapist and their support worker. Method Five triads were interviewed, each consisting of a person with learning disabilities, a psychological therapist and a support worker. Qualitative methodology was used to analyse the data obtained, via Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Findings The resulting research findings highlighted the importance of four super-ordinate themes: i) Values, Stigma & Social Equity; ii) Building Relationships, Collaboration & Trust; iii) Coping & Adaptations and iv) Positive Outcomes. Implications for various key groups including counselling psychologists, were considered and findings were contextualised with prior research findings. Conclusions The researcher’s original contribution to knowledge relates to the inclusion and exploration of the experiences and perspectives of three related stakeholder groups, including previously under-represented participants with learning disabilities, in order to voice what was important to them in terms of the therapeutic relationship and the facilitation of empowerment through psychological therapy.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the award of Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology.
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