Mental Health Care of Deaf People: A Culturally Affirmative Approach

Mental Health Care of Deaf People: A Culturally Affirmative Approach

Mental Health Care of Deaf People: A Culturally Affirmative Approach

Mental Health Care of Deaf People: A Culturally Affirmative Approach

Synopsis

Mental Health Care of Deaf People: A Culturally Affirmative Approach, offers much-needed help to clinical and counseling psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, and other mental health professionals-and to their program administrators. The editors, a psychologist and a psychiatrist, and the authors, leading authorities with a variety of expertises, systematically review the special needs of deaf patients, particularly those who regard themselves as "culturally Deaf," and provide professionals with the tools they need to meet those needs. Among these tools is an extensive "library" of pictorial questionnaires and information sheets developed by one of the very few psychiatric units in the country devoted to the deaf. These handouts greatly simplify the processes involved in the diagnosis and treatment of people who in many cases are not good readers-for example, explaining medication and inquiring about side-effects. The handouts are reproduced on a CD included in each copy of the book, to enable purchasers to print out and use copies in their work. This comprehensive clinical guide and its accompanying CD constitute vital resources for all those who seek to provide sensitive, effective mental health care to deaf people.

Excerpt

This book is concerned with the practical work of creating specialty mental health services for deaf people. Our main focus is on those deaf people who do not see themselves as disabled, but rather as a linguistic and cultural minority the literature most relevant to our enterprise is therefore that of cross-cultural psychology rather than of disability psychology (Glickman, 1996b). We do not address the needs of late-deafened or hard-of-hearing people in any great depth, because they almost always maintain a cultural identity as hearing people—there is as yet no “hard-of-hearing culture. ” However, many of the ideas developed here are applicable to hard-of-hearing people and to those who became deaf early in life and were raised “orally, ” with English as their primary language. We believe that clinicians familiar with cultural deafness are more comfortable and more capable of working with people with every type of hearing loss.

Our contributors do not view deafness as a disability. Therefore, they do not explore the kind of question implicit in the disability model: how does one adjust to and accommodate a disability. Instead, they ask how to provide mental health treatment that is actually relevant and helpful to a group of people who too often have been patronized or mistreated in the “hearing” institutions—schools, social services, and health care—that claimed to care for them.

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