A case study demonstrating the effectiveness of an adapted-DBT program upon increasing adaptive emotion management skills, with an individual diagnosed with mild learning disability and emotionally unstable personality disorder

Journal article citation:
Journal of Forensic Psychology Research and Practice, 17(1), 2017, pp.38-60.
Taylor and Francis
Place of publication:

The effectiveness of an adapted-DBT (dialectical behavioural therapy) program upon adaptive emotion management is reviewed. This case study focuses upon a male forensic inpatient diagnosed with mild learning disabilities and emotionally unstable personality disorder who presented with behavioural difficulties including self-harm and aggression. Following development of a psychological formulation, informed by an initial psychological assessment process, the client was referred for the “I Can Feel Good” program (Ingamells & Morrissey, 2014), which is designed to reduce difficulties managing emotions and resulting problematic behaviours. This was in addition to supplementary individual sessions designed to support and reinforce skills developed within the group. The effectiveness of this intervention was assessed using a combination of approaches including a range of self- and staff-report psychometrics and observational data. Findings demonstrated an effect upon some secondary treatment targets (namely an increase in use of mindfulness techniques and adaptive coping strategies) but no overall reduction of the primary treatment target of emotional management or associated emotional and psychological problems. Reflection upon the initial formulation in light of findings is discussed. Methodological difficulties and issues of evaluation are reviewed. Future adaptation of the “I Can Feel Good” program is considered. (Edited publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
learning disabilities, behaviour therapy, case studies, personality disorders, intervention, self-harm, aggression, emotions;
Content type:
practice example
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