Disability: A Primer for Therapists

Rhoda Olkin

in The Oxford Handbook of Counseling Psychology

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780195342314
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Disability: A Primer for Therapists

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  • Counselling Psychology


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This chapter is an overview of the concepts critical to an understanding of disability. A social justice perspective underlies all four topics areas. Topics covered include, first, conceptualizing disability, including models of disability, common disability experiences, legal issues relevant to persons with disabilities, and sociocultural and familial factors for persons with disabilities. Next, issues related to counseling individuals with disabilities are discussed. In particular, disability-affirmative therapy is described, along with a template for key questions to explore with clients. Special issues in training and supervision are discussed from two perspectives: when the client or when the therapist is the person with a disability. Future issues to be illuminated and explored include abuse as a cause of disability, bicultural partnerships between a person with and a person without a disability, and outcome studies of therapy with persons with disabilities; finally, a research agenda is proposed.

Keywords: disability; handicap; impairment; disability-affirmative therapy; psychotherapy; counseling; sociocultural experiences; social justice

Article.  14783 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Counselling Psychology

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