Cultural Implications for Mental Health Professionals Working with Deaf Individuals

Adriana E Sgroi, Samuel Justin Sinclair

Abstract


The current paper reviews the history of oppression, education, and mental health treatment of Deaf and Hard of Hearing clients, as well as the clinical and cultural implications of working with these populations in different settings. The impact of specific world events (e.g., World War II) and other important controversies (e.g., the cochlear implant debate) are explored initially, particularly in terms of how they informed the eventual development of ethically and culturally sensitive approaches to mental health care for Deaf clients. The paper concludes with specific recommendations for clinicians working with Deaf clients, which include the need for a greater understanding of the norms and values held by the community, communication needs on an individual basis, barriers to access, and the psychosocial effects of widespread oppression.

Keywords: Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Culture, Cultural implications, mental health


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