Our Model


Respond is a registered charity that has been providing innovative services for children and adults with learning disabilities since 1991.

We make a real difference to people by providing trauma informed, effective and flexible support to help people who have experienced abuse or trauma, as well those who have abused others. We improve their lives, through psychotherapy, advocacy, training and other support in a manner that brings about long-term and sustainable change.

We aim to help create communities where people with learning disabilities are treated as equals and are equally able to develop meaningful relationships.

The Respond Model

Almost Thirty years of clinical experience with people of all ages with learning disabilities and or autism has led to the development of Respond's model of trauma informed psychotherapy: the Attachment-based Systems Approach. We believe that, in order to bring about long-term change, the wider support network has to be in place and agree to become an integral part of the therapeutic process.

We think that professionals and carers want to be given time to learn, reflect and share experience, as they, like we, know it that can improve well-being and engender healthier relationships between people.

Our model is informed by:

  • Attachment theory
  • Object relations theory
  • Developmental theories
  • Systemic theory
  • Trauma theory, especially its impact on brain development and expression through the body

Creativity is at the heart of our approach. Our team are committed to providing a safe and reflective place where people can make sense of their feelings and actions and get a better understanding of their experience of being 'them'.

The Therapeutic Alliance

Each person referred for psychotherapy will have 2 therapists assigned to them. They will have their individual therapist who they will meet with each week and there will be a second therapist who is the 'case manager therapist' who will support the systemic network. The Case Manager provides an initial training to the supportive network and then becomes a bridge between the confidential therapeutic work and the client's everyday support network. The network thus becomes a tangible part of the transformative process of therapy as well as keeping the therapeutic relationship 'safe'.

The Therapeutic Package

Referrals to Respond are commissioned with the following as a minimum:

  • One year of therapy (44 sessions)
  • A one-day induction training with staff - People working with the client are introduced to attachment theory and transference and how these approaches can help inform our work. This induction helps develop a shared perspective of the client and the issues that they are facing.
  • Four hours of consultation with the staff spread throughout the year.
  • The initial induction training is supported through regular telephone and email contact as well as through the consultation.