When you go into the counseling field and make it your life's work to help people overcome emotional and mental traumas and problems in their lives, you want to be sure you are doing everything that you can to make your patients feel comfortable in your office and under your care. If you have a patient or potential patient who happens to be deaf, you may wonder what you can do to make sure that you are doing everything you can to provide an accepting and comfortable counseling environment for your new patient. Get to know some of the ways that you can make your deaf counseling patient (or patients) more comfortable in therapy and provide them with the best care possible.
Take a Deaf Studies Course or Research and Learn About Deaf Culture
While as a hearing person you may never fully be able to understand what it is like to be deaf or be a part of the deaf culture, getting a base knowledge of deaf culture can help you to be understanding of your deaf client's culture. If there are any deaf studies courses that you can enroll in in your area, this will be one of the best ways for you to get to know more about the deaf community.
Deaf culture and deaf identity are an important part of your patient's life even if the issues they come to you with are not deaf-specific. The deaf community is often thought to be its own ethnic group with specific cultural needs and contexts that are completely unique to them. Just like religion or nationality, this cultural context is important to understanding your patient's perspective. Learn all you can about this culture through classes, research literature, film, and any other resource you can find so that you are culturally aware and sensitive.
Learn ASL (American Sign Language)
Just like many other cultures, the deaf culture also has its own language. While not all people who are deaf speak the language (much like not all Latinos speak Spanish), it can be highly beneficial to you to become proficient in American Sign Language (ASL).
Learning ASL is like learning any other language, it takes time and dedication. You will want to start by learning the ASL alphabet. You will then be able to finger spell your name, psychological concepts, and the like. That way, even if your deaf patient can read lips, you can help them to understand you when you speak to them, especially with difficult terms and concepts.
You can quickly build on your ASL knowledge from there. Many of the signs are intuitive and are easy to remember once you practice them. And even if your ASL is not perfect when you start counseling your patient, your effort will be noted and appreciated. Also, native ASL speakers will sign very quickly and fluidly. So, be prepared to learn quickly on the job. It may be difficult to follow your patient's signing at first, but you will be surprised how quickly you will catch on if you continue to study the language outside of your sessions.
Now that you know a few of the ways to make your deaf counseling patients more comfortable in therapy, you can better serve your patients and ensure that they feel like you are providing them with the assistance and care that they need from you.
To learn more about sign language for counseling, contact a company like Professional Sign Language Interpreting Inc.Share
16 December 2015
Whenever I’m on vacation, I like to learn about cultures I’m unfamiliar with. For example, my husband and I plan to study Native American culture this summer while vacationing in North Carolina. We hope to learn how authentic Native American baskets are woven. I’m also interested in Native American pottery and jewelry items. If you have young children at home, consider introducing them to a different culture this year during a summer trip. Visit an exotic location. Tour interesting museums. Most of all, have fun discovering new things together. On this blog, you will discover how to plan a culture filled vacation. Enjoy!