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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 61 (2019) 11, 792 - 797


Effect of psychotherapy for persons with an intellectual disability, and required adjustments

P.S. Sterkenburg, J.H. Braakman

background The prevalence of psychological problems in people with (visual and) intellectual disabilities is high and therefore there is a substantial need for adequate psychological treatment.
aim To examine the effectiveness of psychotherapy in people with a (visual and) intellectual disability and to study which adjustments are needed in treatment protocols.
method A random selection of client files (n = 50) was studied, therapists completed questionnaires (n = 5) and videos of mentalisation based therapy sessions (n = 12) were analysed.
results A qualitative assessment of therapy effect showed that for 88% of clients therapy was effective, half or all treatment goals were achieved. The psychotherapeutic methodologies corresponded, as recommended in the literature, to methodologies used for persons without a disability, although practical and specific adjustments were needed.
conclusion A large number of psychotherapeutic methods, with the necessary adjustments, can be used in the treatment of persons with (visual and intellectual) disabilities with psychological problems.

keywords evidence-based, intellectual disability, psychotherapy