Systemic therapy and the social relational model of disability: enabling practices with people with intellectual disability

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Abstract

Therapy has been critiqued for personalizing the political (Kitzinger, 1993). The social-relational model (Thomas, 1999) is one theoretical resource for understanding the practices of therapy through a political lens. The social model(s) have viewed therapy with suspicion. This paper highlights – using composite case examples and the authors primary therapeutic modality, systemic therapy – some systemic practices with adults with Intellectual Disability (ID) that enact a position that it is suggested have some coherence with and, may reciprocally, inform the social-relational model. The practice examples illustrate a support system at risk of disabling those it is mandated to support, the possibility of therapeutically ‘successful’ practices (including systemic practices) and disablement going hand in hand; as well as the psycho-emotional1 Thomas, 2006) consequences of the relational positions created by the service system. The paper concludes by suggesting that systemic conversations traversing culture, time and place can be a springboard to unearthing and challenging disabling ideas and practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-13
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Psychology & People with Learning Disabilities
Volume7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009

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