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Beyond the classroom: The inclusion of young people with learning disabilities in UK mainstream counselling services

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sue Pattison


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Counselling is increasingly seen as a way of addressing the psychological needs of young people with emotional, behavioural and academic problems. This paper explores the existing counselling landscape regarding inclusion of young people with learning disabilities in counselling. The research findings are based on data collected from an empirical study (n = 396) and a series of interviews (n = 15) with counsellors. Findings identify inclusion in counselling as a process and highlight inclusive strategies, namely: creative counselling approaches, non-verbal forms of communication and the use of simple adapted language. The most inclusive counsellors were highly qualified with greater knowledge and experience of this group of young people; awareness of disability issues; eclectic in practice; imaginative and creative; open-minded, reflective, pragmatic; and proactive in promoting their services. Inclusive counselling practices adopt a person-centred, psychodynamic or integrative therapeutic approach; take referrals through teachers, parents, carers, care managers and family doctors; have a welcoming attitude towards the young people, their parents and carers; are flexible regarding times and appointments.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pattison S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Inclusive Education

Year: 2006

Volume: 10

Issue: 6

Pages: 547-564

Print publication date: 01/11/2006

ISSN (print): 1360-3116

ISSN (electronic): 1464-5173

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/13603110500256020


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