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The effectiveness of psychodynamic interventions for people with learning disabilities: a systematic review

Chris W. James (Clinical Psychologist, Isis Education Centre, Oxford Institute of Clinical Psychology Training, Warneford Hospital, Oxford, UK)
James M. Stacey (Clinical Psychologist, based at Psychology Department, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, UK)

Tizard Learning Disability Review

ISSN: 1359-5474

Publication date: 20 December 2013

Abstract

Purpose

Recent governmental policy has emphasised the need for greater choice and inclusion for people with learning disabilities. Accordingly, learning disabilities services are increasingly offering a greater choice of psychological interventions to people with learning disabilities. A growing body of research has examined the use of psychodynamic interventions for people with learning disabilities. The purpose of the this paper is to identify, outline, and evaluate research on the efficacy of psychodynamic approaches with people with learning disabilities and to consider the implications for clinical practice.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic search identified 13 relevant studies. A qualitative review of these studies was carried out.

Findings

Overall, the reviewed studies offer some preliminary support for the use of psychodynamic approaches with people with learning disabilities.

Research limitations/implications

A number of methodological issues are identified (particularly concerning the influence of extraneous variables and the generalisability of findings) and further, larger scale and more robust, research is required.

Practical implications

Learning disabilities services should consider providing psychodynamic psychotherapy for people with a mild learning disability experiencing mental health, behavioural, and/or offending problems.

Originality/value

This paper provides an up-to-date, comprehensive review of the literature on the efficacy of psychodynamic psychotherapy for people with a learning disability that will be of use to services providing therapeutic support to people with a learning disability and to people commissioning those services.

Keywords

Citation

W. James, C. and M. Stacey, J. (2013), "The effectiveness of psychodynamic interventions for people with learning disabilities: a systematic review", Tizard Learning Disability Review, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 17-24. https://doi.org/10.1108/TLDR-10-2012-0009

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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