Thursday, March 18, 2010

Systemic consultations for challenging behaviour


Journal of Intellectual Disability Research

© 2008 The Authors. Journal Compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Systemic consultations for challenging behaviour: Beyond mediator and ecological analayis L. Whatson , J. Dikian, K. Brearley, L. Mora, A. Hansson & P. Rhodes


People with intellectual disability who present with challenging behaviours are often identified as the presenting problem. The aim of this project is to define a clinical process for enhancing behaviour assessment such that factors that constrain or enable positive change within the family or service system are identified. Hence, the system, rather the person with the disability, is the focus of change. Systems theory underpins this process which is applied in a reflecting team format.


Staff supporting people with intellectual disability are invited to present their views on the presenting issues to a reflect- ing team (the Systemic Consultation Clinic). Reflecting team members view these issues through a variety of therapeutic lenses by asking ‘curious questions’ in order to explore emerging themes and develop hypotheses. Hypothesizing more broadly can suggest novel areas of investigation and action. This project integrates systemic ideas with more traditional behaviour assessment methodologies, such as ecologi- cal and mediator analyses.


Initial feedback from clinic partici- pants suggests that the Systemic Consultation process adds value to existing behaviour assessment methodologies. Conclusion: This initial feedback is promising. It highlights the need to develop a more rigor- ous research methodology to evaluate and implement this process.

© 2008 The Authors. Journal Compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

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