Module 11 - Psychological Therapies and Social Interventions

Why is it important to know about psychological therapies?

Psychological therapies as a group focus on the relationships between a person’s behaviours and thoughts. There are a wide range of psychological therapies, and different types of therapy include behavioural, cognitive and psychoanalytic therapies. Whilst there is a growing evidence base regarding the effectiveness of these therapies in the general population, the research in people with dual disability is limited. Often psychological therapies are complex and some may require a person to have good verbal and literacy skills. This means that people with intellectual disability are often unable to participate without significant adaptations to the therapies and are often excluded from the research and the treatment. In people with dual disability, psychological therapies can be adapted to involve families, carers, support systems and environments. This can provide another route to reducing stressors and improving the person’s support system. There are also therapies such as music, art and drama therapy which rely less heavily on verbal communication and can be used very successfully for clients with language difficulties or relate better to other modalities such as touch, hearing and play. Recently therapies have evolved using animals as part of the treatment modality – for example this has included the use of specially trained dogs to work with people with autism, and the development of Equine Assisted Therapy which uses horses to assist with managing emotional regulation, especially where trauma has occurred. There are a range of other social and vocational therapies which rely less on communication and literacy skills and these are useful in people with dual disability  
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