15 September 2020

Learning Disabilities Psychological Therapies making sense together: What changed during COVID-19?

By Doranne McDonald and Carlos Santos, Improvement Advisors

On 14 July, 2020, members of the Learning Disabilities (LD) Psychological Therapies team from Tower Hamlets, Newham, Hackney, and Bedfordshire & Luton, came together to reflect on their experiences during COVID 19, and the changes their service have had to make as a result.

The participants included: principal and clinical psychologists, trainee clinical psychologists, psychotherapists, art and drama therapists, an assistant psychologist, a behaviour analyst, an arts therapy assistant, and a dance movement psychotherapist.

Figure 1. Members of the LD Psychological Therapies team having fun at their Shaping Our Future session.

The session was jointly facilitated by Jason Crabtree, Lead Consultant Clinical Psychologist for People with Learning Disabilities, and Carlos Santos, Improvement Advisor from the Quality Improvement team. A collective sense-making exercise was performed, based on five questions (Table 1), allowing participants to reflect as the answers appeared anonymously on the screen. You can see the questions, and a sample of the answers below.

Table 1. Collective sense-making questions.

Figure 2. Results from one of the questions of the sense-making exercise

The whole session took less than 30 minutes, and allowed the clinicians from distinct geographical areas (across East London, and Bedfordshire & Luton) to build a greater sense about the changes that occurred during Covid-19, thereby informing their next steps towards shaping their service design post-pandemic.

Participants commented at the end that it had been “a great session”. Kim Dee, an art therapist from the Community Learning Disability Team, based at Mile End, voiced that “it was interesting and quite fun”.

We look forward to hearing about their next steps.

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