Intellectual Disability, Trauma and Psychotherapy: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Intellectual Disability, Trauma and Psychotherapy

1st Edition

Edited by Tamsin Cottis


240 pages

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Paperback: 9780415421676
pub: 2008-09-15
Hardback: 9780415421669
pub: 2008-09-17
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eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203926826
pub: 2008-11-03
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People with intellectual disabilities have emotional and mental health needs just like anyone else. Until recently however there has been little research of effective psychological treatment or direct, accessible psychotherapy provision for this client group.

Intellectual Disability, Trauma and Psychotherapy focuses on the delivery of psychotherapy services for those with intellectual disabilities. Leading professionals in this specialist field are brought together to describe the history, theory and practice of their work in twelve focused chapters that draw on the work of psychotherapists including Bion, Winnicott, Sinason and Alvarez. Topics covered include:

  • therapeutic responses to cultural and religious diversity
  • support for parents with intellectual disabilities
  • developing healthy and secure attachments within the family
  • dealing with intense feelings of shame
  • helping clients to cope with traumatic sexual experiences.

Drawing on over a decade of pioneering practitioner experience at Respond – a government-funded psychotherapy service for people with learning disabilities based in central London – this book explores the practical issues in providing therapy to this client group, whether individually, in families, in groups, or by the use of telephone counselling. It closes with a chapter exploring the way forward for those who wish to develop services of this kind.


'In this remarkable book contributors take us on a journey to understand the emotional needs of a small but very challenged group of people, and on the way answer the question of whether psychotherapy for people with learning disabilities is worth it. It so definitely is!' - Professor Sheila Hollins, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists

'This is a beautiful brave book. Edited by a major learning disability pioneer, Tamsin Cottis, and with contributions from the internationally known specialist psychotherapists who work at Respond, this book is essential for all those in the field of learning disability' - Dr Valerie Sinason Ph.D MACP M.Inst.Psychoanal, President of the Institute for Psychotherapy and Disability

"…the book makes important links between therapeutic technique within the consulting room and the need to understand and engage with carers, external agencies and funding bodies…All the chapters demonstrate an impressive level of clinical thoughtfulness and theoretical rigour."

– Deborah Marks, Journal of Child Psychotherapy

Table of Contents

Alvarez, Foreword. Cottis, Introduction. O’Driscoll, Psychotherapy and Intellectual Disability: A Historical View. Upton, When Words Are Not Enough: Creative Therapeutic Approaches. Corbett, Words as a Second Language: The Psychotherapeutic Challenge of Severe Intellectual Disability. Lloyd, Speaking Through the Skin: The Significance of Shame. Cottis, Love Hurts: The Emotional Impact of Intellectual Disability and Sexual Abuse on a Family. Curen, ‘Can They See In The Door?’: Issues in the Assessment and Treatment of Sex Offenders Who Have Intellectual Disabilities. Cottis, Neill, Going on Down the Line: Working with Parents who have Intellectual Disabilities. Haque, Differences, Differences, Differences: Working with Ethnic, Cultural and Religious Diversity. Blackman, Therapy for Life and Death: A Focus on the Respond Elders Project. Arthur, McNeil, Small, In One Ear: The Practice and Process of Telephone Counselling. Cottis, O’Driscoll, Outside In: The Effects of Trauma on Organizations. Cottis, Life Support or Intensive Care?: Endings and Outcomes in Psychotherapy for People with Intellectual Disabilities. Glossary. Index

About the Author/Editor

Tamsin Cottis has been a practitioner in the field of learning disability for over 20 years, as a teacher, trainer and therapist. She is also co-founder of Respond, one of the UK’s leading providers of psychotherapy to people with intellectual disabilities.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / Counseling