In today’s world, therapy is not just a tool for personal growth and mental health management, but a cornerstone for understanding and accepting oneself. A therapist’s role is to provide a safe and inclusive space for all individuals, irrespective of their abilities or disabilities. The term ‘disability’ carries with it a plethora of connotations, some embraced, some rejected. With an evolving understanding of accessibility, therapy now seeks to be more inclusive than ever.
Counselling for Individuals with Disabilities
Accessibility in Therapy: Honouring Individual Needs and Perspectives
Understanding Disability and Accessibility
Historically, disability has been defined in narrow terms, often leading to stigma and misrepresentation. However, the modern perspective views disability through a broader lens, encompassing a diverse array of physical, psychological, and sensory differences. Some individuals resonate with the term, while others may prefer descriptors like ‘exceptionalities’. Regardless of the terminology, the core remains the same: every individual deserves respect, understanding, and accommodation.
In therapy, we often encounter clients who grapple with their relationship to the term ‘disability’. It’s not just a label; it’s an identity, a lived experience, and a unique journey. Addressing this unspoken elephant in the room is crucial. By initiating conversations like “How do you relate to the term disability?” or “What does this label mean to you?”, we allow clients to shape their narrative.
Online Therapy: Accommodations and Considerations
With the rise of online therapy, considerations for accessibility have shifted. Here are some ways we can make virtual sessions more inclusive:
- Closed Captions: For those hard of hearing, we offer closed captioning during sessions.
- Interpreters: If you have difficulty hearing or use sign language, we can connect you with professional interpreters.
- Visual Adjustments: For those with visual impairments, our website is designed to be navigable and readable.
- Camera-Off Sessions: Recognizing that some individuals might be uncomfortable showing their faces due to body image concerns, we offer the option to turn off the camera.
In-Person Therapy: Overcoming Physical and Motor Barriers
While online therapy eliminates certain barriers, in-person sessions have their set of challenges. We strive to ensure our facilities are physically accessible to all.
If you have questions or would like to request specific accommodations, please reach out. We also offer phone consultations and an opportunity to meet our team. For those who prefer visual or written communication, we provide video and phone match sessions along with session transcriptions.
Addressing the Elephant in the Room
It’s essential to address the occasional glamorization of disabilities in literature and research. We strive to avoid celebrating individuals solely for their disability, as it can perpetuate inequality. At Skylark, we view individuals beyond their disabilities, recognizing their achievements as a testament to their abilities and resilience.
Seeking a Diagnosis: The Right to Understand Oneself
It’s heartbreaking to hear stories of individuals seeking a diagnosis, only to be denied or misunderstood. Every individual deserves the right to understand themselves better. In our resource section, we provide guidance on seeking a diagnosis and relevant references.
In therapy, we aim to create an environment where every individual feels seen, heard, and respected. By prioritizing accessibility, we pave the way for more inclusive therapeutic practices that celebrate diversity and individuality.
We have free phone consultations where we support you in finding a therapist, so you don’t have to add more research to your already busy to-do list.
Check out our availability here to book the 15 minute counsellor-match phone consultation, where one of our specialized team members will chat with you to figure out which therapist is the best fit for you, how to know when you find the right fit, psychoeducation around the counselling process, or just time to answer any other questions you may have.
We offer sessions 8am-10pm, 7 days a week, so you have flexibility with your academic schedule, as well as both in-person and virtual sessions without a waitlist so you get the help when you need it.