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Psychotherapy and the Frankish model for children and young people with learning disabilities

Published November 2016

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What were we asked?

We were asked whether there was any evidence that the Frankish model of psychotherapy could help support the emotional and behavioural needs of children and young people with learning disabilities.

By learning disability we mean a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities that affects someone for their whole life.

It is important to recognise there are a number of factors that may contribute to emotional or behavioural problems in a child or young person with a learning disability. Psychotherapy aims to address those issues which are psychological in origin. The Challenging Behaviour Foundation offers more information on other causes of behavioural issues.

Key findings:

  • Psychotherapy aims to help people with a range of emotional and behavioural problems.
  • The Frankish model is a form of psychotherapy specifically for people with disability. We did not find any guidance as to the severity of learning disability for which the therapy would be appropriate.
  • There is poor quality evidence that psychotherapy can be effective for children and young people with learning disabilities and emotional or behavioural problems.
  • There is little evidence to support the Frankish model as a specific form of disability psychotherapy. However this does not mean it is not effective, but that more research is needed to find out whether or not it is effective.

Note: This information is produced by PenCRU researchers and reviewed by external experts. The views expressed are those of PenCRU at the University of Exeter Medical School and do not represent the views of the Cerebra charity, or any other parties mentioned. We strongly recommend seeking medical advice before undertaking any treatments/therapies.