Adapting and evaluating a tree of life group for women with learning disabilities

Catherine Randle-Phillips, Sarah Farquhar, Sally Thomas

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Background: This study describes how a specific narrative therapy approach called‘the tree of life’ was adapted to run a group for women with learning disabilities. Thegroup consisted of four participants and ran for five consecutive weeks.Materials and Methods: Participants each constructed a tree to represent their livesand presented their tree to the group who responded with positive feedback andaffirming statements. This led to discussion about overcoming the storms of life anda celebration of the journey the group had been through together.Key Results: Although no change was found on quantitative measures of well-beingand self-esteem, participants reported benefitting from the peer support and socialconnectedness that the group offered, particularly in relation to themes of loss andchange in their lives.Conclusions: ‘The tree of life’ approach has potential value as an intervention forpeople with learning disabilities. The benefits and challenges of this approach within the context of working with people with learning disabilities are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-308
JournalBritish Journal Of Learning Disabilities
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2016


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