Expanding Therapeutic Opportunities for People with Intellectual Disabilities: An Integration of Narrative Therapy and Interpersonal Neurobiology Towards the Development of a Therapeutic Group Approach

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Byers, Karen
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In this thesis, I explore the potential for integrating narrative therapy (NT) and interpersonal neurobiology (IPNB) in a therapeutic group approach for adults with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities (ID) who struggle with mental health issues. This proposal contributes to the field of therapy by expanding the therapeutic options available for this population. I explore relevant concepts and practices from NT: deconstruction, externalization, re-authoring and the narrative audience; and from IPNB: integration in terms of personal and interpersonal well-being and mindfulness. I provide perspectives on therapist responsibilities and roles, emphasising safety and attuned communication, the therapeutic relationship, and the pragmatics of group structure and format. Through discussion and integration of relevant ideas, I present a protocol for an integrated therapeutic group approach. By employing Vygotskian concepts of the zone of proximal development and scaffolding, I demonstrate possibilities for making mindfulness practices accessible and engaging for group members. With an emphasis on creating experience in therapy, I apply IPNB strategies to NT practices. Rather than being prescriptive, the intent of this study is to demonstrate a way of engaging with people of differing cognitive abilities that supports and celebrates reciprocity in relationships
narrative therapy, ipnb