Category Archives: PhD examinations

PhD Viva – Dr Hannah Young

In May I examined Hannah Young’s PhD thesis at the University of Dundee (with Philip Dodd and Ian Barron). Hannah’s work explores the loss and bereavement experiences of people with profound intellectual disabilities and develops therapeutic approaches in the field.  The thesis challenges the reductionism at the heart of conventional cognitive accounts which hold that some people are too intellectually impaired to understand loss or benefit from support. A relational and embodied perspective is then advanced which helps make sense of the loss experiences of people with PID and guides the development of practice (e.g. multi-sensory story telling and memory boxes). Hannah’s work is deeply humanising, sensitively-written, and begins to fill a large hole in our knowledge and practice in this area. Her defence was passionate and thoughtful, and her publications essential reading in this area.