Adapting compassion focused therapy for an adult with a learning disability—A case study

Rosalind Cooper, Julia Frearson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Accessible summary: Compassion focused therapy is a talking therapy. It helps people be kind to themselves. We do not know whether this therapy can help people with learning disabilities. Here, we talk about what happened when a man with a learning disability had the therapy. We hope that other people will use the therapy too. This will improve therapy for people with learning disabilities. Abstract: Background Joe was referred to the Community Learning Disabilities Team (CLDT) for support around low mood and overeating. Initial formulation suggested compassion focused therapy (CFT) as an intervention. The evidence base for using CFT with people with learning disabilities is currently limited. Materials and Methods Adaptations were made to the CFT framework, accounting for Joe's learning disability. A case study design was used to investigate the effectiveness of intervention. Joe attended 13 sessions of assessment, formulation and intervention. Client feedback was incorporated to assess suitability of the CFT approach and adaptations made. Results and Conclusions Changes in scores on outcome measures were limited. However, findings from this exploratory study suggest that CFT can be meaningfully adapted for use within the field of learning disabilities. Implications for clinical practice and directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-150
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal Of Learning Disabilities
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • adaptation
  • community learning disabilities team
  • compassion focused therapy
  • mental health
  • psychological therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Pediatrics


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