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Title: Talking to people with learning disabilities and their families about the experience of systemic therapy
Author: Arkless, Laura
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 0414
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2005
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Systemic family therapy is an approach to psychological therapy that is increasingly being offered to adults with learning disabilities and their families. To date there has been no published evaluation of the degree to which this is an approach that is effective in alleviating distress for this client group. The present study aimed to explore the experiences of adults with learning disabilities and their family members, who had attended systemic family therapy together. It also aimed to investigate whether it was an experience that had been helpful and in what ways, if any it impacted on their lives. Ten families and six adults with learning disabilities were interviewed about their experiences of attending systemic family therapy. The transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Participants had mixed views about the degree to which systemic therapy had been helpful to them. Some family members saw it as having a positive impact on their views about and ways of approaching particular issues. However, for other families systemic therapy had not offered the kind of help they had expected and the experience was seen as relatively insignificant, vague or confusing. For the participants with learning disabilities there was a general sense that the opportunity to talk about difficulties was seen as valuable. However, the degree to which some of these participants felt they had a voice was limited. A combination of feeling pressure to 'know' what to say, and the presence of other family members in the meetings made it difficult for them to have their say. These findings suggest that although systemic family therapy can be helpful, particular aspects of the process may need to be adapted to ensure it is an approach that is accessible for this client group and their families.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available