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Title: 'Trying transitions' : researching the identity development of severely learning disabled adolescents : a psychosocial, observational study
Author: Hingley-Jones, Helen
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 663X
Awarding Body: Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust & University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2008
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At the heart of this project is the wish to forge a better understanding of the lives and subjective experiences of severely learning disabled people in adolescence. The thesis adopts an approach that starts with the subjective, lived experience of the young people and the study explores the social and emotional worlds which the young people inhabit. This takes shape as a psychosocial investigation of identity development in the young people concerned with the study. Observation, informed by psychoanalytic theory and practice, is the chosen methodology. The observer reflexively explores the relationships and emotions involved in the everyday lives of the young people concerned, within the social context of their families, enabling themes to emerge from which case studies are constructed. Relational maps are formed for each young person by bringing together the idea of ‘becoming a subject’ with the unconscious defensive structures employed by parents in stressful caring situations. These are considered in relation to broader social factors: social class, culture and ethnicity. Implications of the findings for policy and practice are described, highlighting technical and attitudinal issues. Relationship based practice and networking skills are indicated, to emphasise the nexus of care which is required by each young person and their family. This ensures that the stressful aspects of dependency are acknowledged rather than denied within contemporary discourse which idealises independence. Finally, infant observation methodology as both research tool and as an aid to practice is thought about; its important contribution in helping to uncover the subjective experience of other vulnerable and ‘hard to reach’ groups stated.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Prof.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available