‘Trying transitions’: researching the identity development of severely learning disabled adolescents; a psychosocial, observational study

Hingley-Jones, Helen (2008) ‘Trying transitions’: researching the identity development of severely learning disabled adolescents; a psychosocial, observational study. DProf thesis, Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust & University of East London.

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Abstract

At the heart of this project is the wish to forge a better understanding of the lives and
subjective experiences of severely learning disabled people in adolescence. The thesis
adopts an approach that starts with the subjective, lived experience of the young people
and the study explores the social and emotional worlds which the young people inhabit.
This takes shape as a psychosocial investigation of identity development in the young
people concerned with the study.
Observation, informed by psychoanalytic theory and practice, is the chosen methodology.
The observer reflexively explores the relationships and emotions involved in the
everyday lives of the young people concerned, within the social context of their families,
enabling themes to emerge from which case studies are constructed. Relational maps are
formed for each young person by bringing together the idea of ‘becoming a subject’ with
the unconscious defensive structures employed by parents in stressful caring situations.
These are considered in relation to broader social factors: social class, culture and
ethnicity.
Implications of the findings for policy and practice are described, highlighting technical
and attitudinal issues. Relationship based practice and networking skills are indicated, to
emphasise the nexus of care which is required by each young person and their family.
This ensures that the stressful aspects of dependency are acknowledged rather than
denied within contemporary discourse which idealises independence. Finally, infant
observation methodology as both research tool and as an aid to practice is thought about;
its important contribution in helping to uncover the subjective experience of other
vulnerable and ‘hard to reach’ groups stated.

Item Type: Thesis (DProf)
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education
Item ID: 15298
Depositing User: Helen Hingley-Jones
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2015 13:23
Last Modified: 31 May 2019 05:22
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/15298

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