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Gravestock, S.M. Mcgauley, G.A. (1994). Connecting Confusions with Painful Realities: Group Analytic Psychotherapy for Adults with Learning Disabilities. Psychoanal. Psychother., 8(2):153-167.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 8(2):153-167

Connecting Confusions with Painful Realities: Group Analytic Psychotherapy for Adults with Learning Disabilities

Shaun M. Gravestock and Gill A. Mcgauley

Developments in the psychodynamic understanding of individuals with learning disabilities (LD) have included the exploration of the relationships between biological and psychosocial vulnerabilities, and emphasis on separation and individuation processes. While the normalisation movement encourages access to mainstream counselling and psychotherapy services, confusions persist about the suitability of people with LD for analytic psychotherapies. Given some recent positive accounts of group psychotherapy, in this paper we aim to explore the opportunities and challenges associated with an outpatient analytic group for adults with LD.

The group's background, members, material, and outcomes illustrate the emerging themes of confusions, connections, and painful realities for adults with LD. Attempts to understand individual and group transference and therapists’ countertransference emphasised the primacy of dependence, handicap, and loss within the content and process of the group.

We encourage further consideration of the psychodynamics, service, and research issues involved in psychotherapy for adults with LD.

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