To read this content please select one of the options below:

Challenging behaviour: service user consultation

Jodie Louise Fellows (Clinical Psychologist, Riverside House, Birmingham, UK)
Lizanne Jones (Joint Service Lead at Wyre Forest Adult Psychology (Learning Disabilities), Kidderminster, UK)

Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities

ISSN: 2044-1282

Article publication date: 23 May 2011




This purpose of this paper is to seek service users' opinions in order to assist the development of the challenging behaviour strategy (CBS) being developed by Worcestershire Mental Health Partnership Trust.


Potential focus group members were identified by local advocacy workers and clinical psychologists. All were known through their involvement in advocacy groups. During the focus group, opinions were sought on the draft CBS document to establish areas to be modified. Focus group members also spontaneously highlighted helpful and unhelpful service responses to challenging behaviour, their opinions of the term “challenging behaviour” and ideas about how such behaviour may develop.


Service responses were seen as important moderators of challenging behaviour. The proposed strategy was seen as mostly acceptable, but there were some important caveats raised. Participants thought that individuals should be involved as much as is possible in services (e.g. recruitment, inspections of services). Participants also discussed ideas of how to achieve their desired service, which was flexible and inclusive with well‐trained staff who understood the reasons for the individual's distress and how best to help with the resulting behaviours.


Service users with behaviour described as “challenging” are able to reflect upon the service they have received and provide helpful feedback and suggestions on improving it. Service users want staff to understand each individual and the triggers to their behaviour, as opposed to treating people the same way.



Fellows, J.L. and Jones, L. (2011), "Challenging behaviour: service user consultation", Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, Vol. 5 No. 3, pp. 30-37.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles