Current Context

  • Andrew Jahoda
  • Biza Stenfert Kroese
  • Carol Pert


There is a high prevalence of mental health problems amongst adults with intellectual disability; yet access to mental health services, especially talking therapies, remains problematic for people with intellectual disabilities. Access is hampered by a lack of knowledge and confidence amongst generic therapists, and staff in learning disability services report that they lack training in mental health issues. Although the demand characteristics of CBT appear many and complex, we argue that a skilled therapist can adapt the methods and materials to make it accessible to people with intellectual disabilities. Learned helplessness, self-regulation and executive functioning are related and relevant concepts that must be considered in the context of the potential of CBT to have long-lasting benefits for our clients. Instead of a remediation approach to facilitating access to CBT, we consider a compensation approach. We argue that when adapting CBT practice for our clients, we must avoid ‘drifting’ into unfocused ways of working. Instead, we should aim for ‘metacompetent adherence’ to the CBT model.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Jahoda
    • 1
  • Biza Stenfert Kroese
    • 2
  • Carol Pert
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Health and WellbeingUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK
  2. 2.School of PsychologyUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK
  3. 3.Learning Disabilities ServiceNHS Greater Glasgow and ClydeGlasgowUK

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