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Creative relaxation – exploring and evaluating the effectiveness of a person-centred programme of relaxation therapies with adults with a mild to moderate intellectual disability



Accessible summary

  • Service users who have suffered from anxiety issues were offered relaxation sessions.
  • Three main techniques were used in a creative way.
  • Relaxation methods can help adults with learning difficulties reduce anxiety.


Over an 18-month period, a group of adult service users with mild to moderate learning disabilities referred to the Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, and who were identified as suffering from anxiety-related disorders, attended a 12-week course of relaxation therapy and the results recorded. To remain true to person-centred values, a creative approach was taken in delivery of the core relaxation techniques. Three core techniques were used: controlled breathing; guided imagery; and progressive muscle relaxation. These were creatively adapted to each individual. Results were recorded using the Clinically Useful Anxiety Outcome Scale (CUXOS) measurement tool and pulse readings taken using a pulse oximeter. The results indicated an overall decrease in physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety. It was concluded that relaxation therapy can be beneficial to this client group, especially when used in a creative and person-centred way.