Dr Sarah Northcott, City University
Description of research
Around one quarter of stroke survivors have aphasia, which means they have difficulty talking, understanding, reading or writing. People with aphasia are at risk of becoming depressed and isolated. However, due to their language difficulties they are often excluded from stroke research exploring effective interventions.
We want to explore whether an existing therapy, Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), can be used with people with aphasia. We also want to collect information to help us design a future large-scale trial evaluating this approach. SFBT is a ‘talking therapy’, which explores a person’s strengths and resilience to help build positive change in their lives.
There will be two stages in the project. During the initial Development Phase we will investigate how best to adapt the therapy for people with post-stroke aphasia and will write a therapy manual.
Thirty-two participants with long-term aphasia will be invited to participate in the second stage of the project. Everyone will receive the usual care offered to them by their local NHS, social services, and voluntary organisations. Participants will be randomly assigned to one of two groups: intervention group and wait-list control group. The intervention group will receive up to six SFBT sessions spaced over three months. They will be assessed immediately prior to the therapy (at time one), immediately post therapy (at time two), and three months later (time three). The wait-list control group will also be assessed at these three time points, and will then be offered the same therapy after time three. During the assessment sessions we will ask participants about how their aphasia affects their mood, well-being and social participation using questionnaires designed to be accessible to people with aphasia. In addition, we will conduct ‘in-depth’ less-structured interviews exploring participants’ experiences of the therapy.
We anticipate that it will be possible to adapt SFBT so that it works well for people with aphasia; and that this project will enable us to design a successful large-scale study.
1 November 2016