Use of Interpreters in Psychological Therapy with Deaf Patients Essay

Use of Interpreters in Psychological Therapy with Deaf Patients Essay

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The use of psychological therapy or what is sometimes called “talk-therapy” has proven to be an effective and worthwhile resource in countless lives in America. For most hearing people, once the decision to seek help is made, it’s a simple matter of showing up to a therapy appointment or walking into a clinic and asking for help. However, for the Deaf culture finding accessible and Deaf-friendly services, can be a challenge producing little results. One way this issue is currently addressed is through the use of interpreters who help facilitate communication between a hearing professional and Deaf person. Therefore, the ideas discussed, reviewed the benefits and challenges of using interpretation when a Deaf person seeks counseling. The objective was to examine what role an interpreter may play in the process, in addition to the communication aspect between the hearing and Deaf.
The goal in any therapeutic setting is to assist a client with gaining effective tools to have a healthy, meaningful life, provide emotional support and offer advice. Therapy does involve “…transition and change, which can be anxiety producing for any client” (Williams and Abeles, p 645). In addition to expressing feelings, needs and experiences, communication can and is being expressed through non-verbal queues, whether the individual has the ability to speak or not. Examples of non-verbal queues could include: posture, strong emotions, and rate of breath. These language queues are common to people, however the use of sign language is not universal language. “While it would be ideal to be able to match deaf patients with therapists fluent in their preferred language mode, this is often not feasible in smaller centers” (Porter, 1999, 163). Counselors seek...


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...he Deaf and hearing (Williams, Abeles, p 643). A common mistake in mental health is assuming deaf clients are poor candidates for psychotherapy. By understanding the specific issues and working with Deaf interpreters, this service can remain a powerful stepping-stone in the rehabilitation of the Deaf seeking help in mental health services.



Works Cited

McCay Vernon, APA for Deafness, American Psychologist, November 2006
Porter, A. (1999). Sign-language interpretation in psychotherapy with deaf patients. American Journal of Psychotherapy. 53, 2. Health Module. Pg. 163.
Sheridan, M. (2009) Bookreview of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Deaf and Hearing Persons with Language and Learning Challenges.
Williams, C. and Abeles, N. (2004) Issues and Implications of Deaf Culture in Therapy. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. Vol 35, No. 6 643-648.

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