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Title: A mixed methods evaluation of the experiences of adults with learning disabilities and anxiety undertaking Compassion Focussed Therapy
Author: Hardiman, Mark
ISNI:       0000 0004 5372 4416
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2015
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In the UK approximately 1.2 million people are estimated to have a mild to moderate learning disability (LD); however, they are historically underrepresented in research. Whilst there’s a small but growing evidence base for Compassion Focussed Therapy (CFT) in adult populations, there’s no published research regarding its use with people with LD. A mixed methods case study project explored the experience of three participants with LD and anxiety undertaking a programme of CFT. Measures of self-compassion, anxiety and depression were administered pre-intervention, post-intervention and at three-month follow-up. Post-intervention interviews were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Findings were then combined to develop mixed methods inferences. Findings showed that participant anxiety reduced significantly. Participants experienced this reduction as a categorical change in the self. There was limited evidence for overall changes in their understanding and experience of self-compassion. In addition, they appeared to understand mindfulness as a tool to use when experiencing acute distress. Participants appeared to be developing a greater sense of common humanity. Issues raised include possible diagnostic overshadowing leading to high levels of anxiety at referral, the value of mixed methods research in the field and the value of a hermeneutic understanding of the researcher’s role in analysing data from people with LD. In summary, this research is the first to examine the function of CFT in adults with LD. It suggests that CFT may have a role in clinical practice, but as always more research is needed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral