• Using literature as a therapeutic tool with people with moderate and borderline learning disabilities in a forensic setting

      Cocking, Andy; Astill, Jackie (2004)
      In the past, it was rare for services for people with learning disabilities to focus on meeting the emotional and personal development needs of their clients, concentrating instead on interventions that aimed to improve self-care, develop appropriate social skills and reduce challenging behaviours. However, recent work using psychotherapeutic interventions and art therapies has started to remedy this traditional shortfall. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the successful use of an art-based therapy, using literature (often termed Biblio-therapy and Poetry Therapy in published research) that has been hitherto generally overlooked with a client group of men with learning disabilities who have offended, on account of their lack of literacy skills and likely lack of understanding of the use of metaphor. The paper describes the background to the work, the preparation of materials, the presentation of the psychotherapeutically-based group work and it's effectiveness in encouraging the development of emotional maturity and self-expression within a mixed-ability client group of young men in a high security setting.