Building resilience: researching the practice of Mindfulness and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with family carers of adults with learning disability and challenging behaviour

Friday, 24th September 2021 State of the Art Tina Cook 11:00am - 12:00pm Room: Humboldt

This presentation offers insights into how science and practice, in the form of participatory health research, came together to understand the basis for effective ways of engaging family carers in Mindfulness and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

In the UK it is recognised that family carers of people with learning disability and challenging behaviours play a vital role in ensuring the health and welfare of their relative. It is acknowledged, however, that services to support family carers are scarce with more being provided by local self-help groups and charities than the NHS. The impact of different types of support for families is rarely researched.

The aim of the participatory research project known as Family Based Positive Support (FaBPoS) was to better understand what might enable family carers to maintain resilience in the face of ongoing and new challenges encountered in their long-term caring roles. Participatory health research involves all those who lives or work are affected by the research, in the research - not as subjects but as active participants. Those involved have agency in shaping the research process, the understandings and new knowledge being developed, and the application of that new knowledge in practice.

The project revealed how the knowledge of the seldom heard (family carers), alongside the knowledge of those usually defined as the experts (clinical psychologists), produced surprising outcomes. Not only did the participatory processes adopted have an impact on the resilience of family carers but it rippled out to affect the person they cared for, and significantly, the professional practice of clinical psychologists involved in the research. FaBPoS also emphasised the value of including diverse forms of expertise for creating meaningful change.

Simple and to the point:

  • Family carers of people with learning disability and challenging behaviours play a vital role in ensuring the health and welfare of their relative
  • Services to support family carers are scarce with more being provided by local self-help groups and charities
  • Family Based Positive Support (FaBPoS) is a UK-based participatory research project and aims to support family carers in their long-term caring role
  • The participatory processes had an impact on the resilience of family carers, affected the person they cared for, and significantly, the professional practice of clinical psychologists involved in the research