Firstly, Purple Therapy is about holding clients from start-to-finish and beyond. We sometimes maintain regular pre-therapy contact with clients for months or years, so they can address finances, health, transport and PA issues prior to starting therapy. We often have contact with clients between sessions, sometimes to remind them of their appointments, but also therapeutic contact via video messaging, email or instant text messaging.
Minimal paperwork – we also recognise that most clients have assessment fatigue from all the other organisations involved in their lives and we actively work to avoid adding to this.
Our therapists include much more than generic counselling skills in their work, working more holistically, drawing on other disciplines such as education and coaching, trauma and body work. We regularly get referrals from IAPT therapists for clients who have stagnated in IAPT therapy, or from therapists who say “their impairment isn’t fixable, so how can therapy help?”. We cannot change an impairment, but, by drawing on various disciplines, we can change how a client feels about themselves, how they cope with pain and fatigue, and how they cope with being excluded from many parts of society. We can help them find new relationships and to find value and worth in themselves. We can help them develop tools and skills to change their actions and behaviours in these instances. We can empower them to have a voice when things go wrong.
Purple Therapists have skills in boundary flexibility, this is essential as there are many ways that boundaries are crossed or blurred when you are disabled and equally many ways therapists must work flexibly with boundaries in order to have effective support. For example, at a client’s request and with mutual consent we are willing to include third parties in therapy. We also use therapist disclosure, touch and body work, and advocacy and sex education and information where needed. We also work with professional third parties (with client consent or at their request) and encourage a multi-disciplinary approach if needed.
Purple Therapy is also about providing an accessible service practically, a service which is flexible in terms of when and how often a client is seen and through which medium. We recognise transport, carers, impairment issues and family members can make weekly 50 minute appointments unachievable. We recognise that a one hour session with a therapist can involve an entire day in terms of planning, getting up, travelling, setting up equipment etc. We also recognise that most therapy with disabled people cannot be done in six sessions and often longer-term working is needed. Providing longer-term support is about being accessible, particularly when clients are often isolated and have limited support from friends or family.
If you would like to read more about our approach and our latest research and outcomes, please contact us to request our 2017 academic paper: Holistic therapy with disabled adults from a social and individual perspective: A service evaluation feasibility study – published in the Counselling and Psychotherapy Research Journal.