Effectiveness of brief training in cognitive-behaviour therapy techniques for staff working with people with intellectual disabilities

Date09 September 2013
Published date09 September 2013
AuthorKaren Dodd,Katie Austin,Laura Baxter,Jo Jennison,Mark Kenny,Tessa Lippold,Alexandra Livesey,Julie Lloyd,Julie Anne Nixon,Zillah Webb,Esther Wilcox
Effectiveness of brief training in
cognitive-behaviour therapy techniques
for staff working with people with
intellectual disabilities
Karen Dodd, Katie Austin, Laura Baxter, Jo Jennison, Mark Kenny, Tessa Lippold,
Alexandra Livesey, Julie Lloyd, Julie Anne Nixon, Zillah Webb and Esther Wilcox
Purpose – There is little research addressing the delivery of training for health professionals who are
interested in using cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT) techniques as an adjunct to their current role. This
paper describes the establishment and evaluation of a CBT training course to develop CBT skills in staff
working with people with intellectual disabilities in Trusthealthcare settings. The course would enable staff to
learn how they could incorporate these skills into their daily practice to help them understand and work more
effectively with people with intellectual disabilities.
Design/methodology/approach – A CBT training course was designed to teach staff the use of a number
of basic and specific CBT techniques and principles that staff could use within their current roles. Specific
issues in relation to people with intellectual disabilities were included, e.g. understanding cognitive deficits
as well as cognitive distortions. The course ran for six sessions on a fortnightly basis, followed by a two-
month follow-up session. Participants completed a pre- and post-assessment questionnaire and kept a
reflective diary.
Findings – The training clearly focused on teaching skills that were feasible for staff to use in their own work
settings. The evaluations, especially from the reflective diaries and the post-course questionnaires clearly
demonstrated that this aim was achieved.
Originality/value – This was a pilot study as there has been no previously published evidence of using this
approach within intellectual disabilities services. A further training course has been planned to continue
evaluating the effectiveness of this approach.
Keywords Training, Cognitive-behaviour therapy, Intellectual disabilities, Staff
Paper type Research paper
There is a limited but increasing body of literature on the use of cognitive-behaviour therapy
(CBT) with people with intellectual disabilities. There are a number of review papers looking
at the use of CBToverall (Hatton, 2002; Beail, 2003; Sturmey, 2004; Willner, 2005; Tayloret al.,
2008), and specific studies which have looked at effectiveness of CBT for particular issues,
e.g. anger management (Taylor et al., 2005; Rose et al., 2009), male sex offenders (Lindsay
and Taylor, 2005; Murphy et al., 2007), psychosis (Haddock et al., 2004; Oathamshaw and
Haddock, 2006) and anxiety and depression (Lindsay et al., 1993; Hollon et al., 2006). Other
literature has focused more on the components of the CBT approach and have particularly
looked at the distinction between cognitive deficits in people with intellectual disabilities and
cognitive distortions (Harchick et al., 1992; Willner, 2005), the ability of the person with
intellectual disabilities (Sams et al., 2006; Rose, 2002; Willner et al., 2002; Taylor et al., 2008)
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VOL. 7 NO. 5 2013, pp. 300-311, CEmeraldGroup Publishing Limited, ISSN 2044-1282 DOI 10.1108/AMHID-06-2013-0037

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