CBT for people with learning disabilities
Around 2% of adults in the UK have a learning disability. Of this group, 40% experience problems with their mental health, such as anxiety or depression. There are also many people who find certain things about learning difficult – like reading and writing, picking up new information, or getting the hang of a new skill. Sometimes they will have been diagnosed with a particular learning difficulty, for example dyslexia, but not always.
It’s really important that everyone has the support they need if they feel down, worried or stressed, so that they can get better and get on with their lives.
Research shows that talking therapies, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), can work well for people with learning disabilities.
Ieso offers online CBT, where the therapist and the patient talk by typing messages to each other – just like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. This could be a really good way of having therapy if you like to have plenty of time to read things, and to think about them before deciding what to say next. Typed CBT treatment means you can take the conversations you have with your therapist at your own pace.
You don’t have to be good at writing! There’s no need to worry about spelling or grammar. They don’t need to be right – it’s what you say in your messages that matters. And if you need more time to answer a question or express what you’re feeling, that’s fine.
At the end of each therapy session you’ll be able to download the conversation, so you can read it back later whenever you want to. You can also message your therapist in between sessions, if there’s something you want to say or you have a question.
The therapist can change how they do things to suit you. CBT is a very flexible and practical treatment. It can easily be adapted to meet your needs, and the way you like to learn and communicate. The therapist will always do their best to work in the way you prefer.
For example, sometimes you might be given a worksheet to fill in before your next session. You might like to record your thoughts on your phone, instead of writing them down, and send the recording to your therapist. If you find it hard to describe something that happened to you, you might want to draw it instead of explaining in words.
You’ll get as many sessions as you need. Don’t worry about being rushed, or running out of time. Your therapist will work with you to set some goals at the start of your treatment, and check your progress regularly to see how you’re doing. If you need more time to feel better, your treatment will carry on. We can also make the sessions themselves shorter or longer, depending on what’s best for you.
You can have someone with you. If you want to, you can have a friend, family member or support worker join your CBT sessions. They could help by reading messages out, writing things down to help you remember, or just be there to give you moral support!
CBT doesn’t suit everybody who tries it, but many people do find that it helps them. If you’d like to learn more about online CBT to see whether you want to give it a try, you can read about it here.
If you start treatment and you think that CBT isn’t working for you, please do let your therapist know.