Reflections on Experiences of Loss in People with Profound Learning Disabilities

: Promoting Sensory Therapeutic Practice

  • Hannah Barbara Young

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

    Abstract

    How are we to make sense of the loss experiences of people with profound learning disabilities (LD)? Although there are good grounds for arguing that this group is distinct from their more able peers, the factors that impact on their emotional wellbeing have not been the subject of much consideration. The current thesis is not motivated primarily by an academic interest; matters of how we shape care are extremely important. However, engaging people with profound LD in relation to emotional issues is often seen as a complex therapeutic challenge.

    This submission is primarily educative, modestly novel and adds to the lack of academic knowledge in this area. It comprises a portfolio of published works with an overarching thesis, which aims to contextualise the development of the work: 1) how is emotional wellbeing conceptualised in relation to people with profound LD? 2) what additional perspectives can we explore in making sense of their loss? and 3) what therapeutic directions can we find relevant to support? The significance of my published contributions is discussed in corresponding parts, providing a contextual backcloth.

    In exhibiting the above, the project explored loss with critical reference to traditional frameworks. There is a need to integrate several methods to make sense of emotional wellbeing in people with profound LD. Therefore, this thesis places my research and practice firmly within a constructivist epistemology and encourages a step away from approaches that appear to discourage therapeutic practice. I argue that responses to the challenges of psychotherapeutic work can be strongly placed in how we understand and define people with profound LD. What is revealed: a range, complexity and depth in their responses to loss, which has not been fully acknowledged and heard, but can be displayed in the fundamentally emotional and embodied nature of being human.
    Date of Award2017
    LanguageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Dundee
    SupervisorTim Kelly (Supervisor) & Susan Levy (Supervisor)

    Cite this

    Reflections on Experiences of Loss in People with Profound Learning Disabilities : Promoting Sensory Therapeutic Practice
    Young, H. B. (Author). 2017

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy