Monday, 14 January 2013

Psychological therapies for adults with intellectual disability

 Better evidence and better practice in psychological therapies for adults with intellectual disabilities

A new book I edited with colleagues John Taylor, Bill Lindsay and Chris Hatton was published this month by Wiley-Blackwell – Psychological Therapies for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities

There are excellent chapters in this book that balance description of research evidence with sage practical advice about how to adapt psychological therapies for the benefit of adults with intellectual disabilities who may mental health problems. We hope that the chapters in this book will help clinicians and services to think about how they offer support to adults with intellectual disabilities and also to understand the state of the evidence for a wide variety of psychology therapies.

For all psychological therapeutic modalities, it is clear that the quality of research evidence of effectiveness for adults with intellectual disability is poor. People with intellectual disability and their families deserve more and higher quality research. However, it is important also to carry out decent quality research providing evidence of outcomes for people with intellectual disability and mental health problems but from a practice perspective. Like in the field of autism (see we cannot wait forever for researchers to generate the highest quality randomized controlled trial evidence. In addition, many of the important research questions are not simply about whether a therapeutic intervention can work for people with intellectual disability. What may be equally or more important are questions about how we organize health service systems to identify those in need, what competencies clinicians need to work effectively with adults with ID and mental health problems, and how services should be delivered on a large scale to help to reduce the significant mental health inequalities faced by people with intellectual disability.

The final chapter in the new book discusses some of these evidence issues:

Hastings, R. P., Hatton, C., Lindsay, W. R., & Taylor, J. L. (2013). Psychological Therapies for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities: Future Directions for Research and Practice. In J. L. Taylor, W. R. Lindsay, R. P Hastings, & C. Hatton (Eds.), Psychological therapy for adults with intellectual disabilities (pp. 267-276). Oxford, UK: Wiley Blackwell.