CBT
is a form of psychotherapy based on the presumption that
dysfunctional patterns of cognition cause emotional distress and
maladaptive behaviours (Beck and Haigh, 2014). The aim of CBT is to
assist individuals to challenge, identify, evaluate and alter
maladaptive behaviours and dysfunctional beliefs (Beck and Haigh,
2014). CBT encompasses multiple cognitive and behavioural techniques,
for example, problem-solving, thought challenging, behavioural
experiments, agenda setting, role plays, goal setting, activity
scheduling, relaxation skills and psycho-education (Beck, 2011). The
efficacy of CBT for treating and preventing depression among people
with learning disabilities is shown by van Zoonen et al. (2014),
Cuijpers et al. (2013) and Hassiotis et al., (2013). However,
Hartley et al. (2015), Unwin et al. (2016) and James (2017) opine
that although researchers demonstrate that CBT is well-tolerated,
feasible and may be effective in reducing symptoms of depression
amidst people with mild learning disabilities, there still remains a
paucity of research regarding CBT’s efficacy.

The
white paper ‘Valuing People’ outlined that people with learning
disabilities should have equitable access to evidence-based
healthcare, adjusted to their individual needs (Department of Health,
2001). However, Beail and Jahoda (2012) indicate that a significant
difference between people with learning disabilities and the general
population receiving psychological treatment from mental health
services is that the general population tend to seek help and
self-refer themselves, whereas people with learning disabilities are
usually referred by others. Therefore, in relation to Samara, it is
important that the learning disability nurse involves Samara in the
referral process to a CBT therapist and wherever possible, Samara
should be empowered to make an active choice and commence the therapy
willingly (Beail and Jahoda, 2012).

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