UCL Doctorate In Clinical Psychology


Working with clients whose disability makes it difficult for them to communicate

Clinical Psychologists need to have the ability to work with clients whose disability impacts on communication.
Competence can be obtained both through teaching on the course and practical work in the context of many different specialities (e.g. long term needs, older adults with dementia, neuropsychological services, child development centres, paediatrics or learning disability services).
Clinical Psychologists should be able to work with people whose disability impacts on communication showing an ethical approach and fostering an enabling attitude in the care of those with communication difficulties. Specifically, they should demonstrate:

An understanding of the impact of communication problems across the lifespan. This may include diagnosis and intervention during childhood, transition during late teenage and early adult years, adulthood and older age
An understanding of the potential impact on family and paid carers of individuals with communication difficulties
An ability to formulate the impact on the person of the communication difficulty, holding in mind biological factors (e.g. organic factors which result  in a communication difficulty), psychological factors (e.g. anxiety generated in response to awareness of the communication difficulty) and social factors (e.g. actual or feared responses of others to the communication difficulty)

As well as this trainees should also demonstrate:

An ability to communicate (both face-to-face and in writing, when appropriate) with people from who have different levels of ability to communicate including individuals who are non-verbal.
An ability to adapt psychological assessments, formulations, interventions and evaluations to people with different levels of ability to communicate. 
An understanding of power differences between professionals and people who are marginalised or disempowered due to communication deficits and how to address these in practice (e.g. minimising the risk of acquiescence).
An awareness of how communication difficulties may complicate issues of capacity and consent that and to ensure that people with communication problems, as far as is possible, are supported in consenting to and making decisions around their care
An ability to liaise with the wider professional network in the interests of people with communication difficulties, including multi-professional, statutory and non-statutory services 

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