Counseling with Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing Clients

During my 30 plus years of affiliation with people in and on the fringes of the Deaf Community, I have learned to look for and value how hearing differences affect lives unlike any other “differences.” Invisible to many people, differences in perception, natural language, family dynamics, cultural identification, education, and acceptance are daily factors for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Understanding and respecting these factors makes a huge difference in the effectiveness of counseling.

Counseling with Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing ClientsHaving worked and socialized in the Deaf Community, as well as within the hearing public, I have learned to appreciate and speak American Sign Language (ASL). Writing, typing or working through translators unnecessarily limits communication. These limits, in context, content, time and connection, foster misinformation on numerous levels.

Whether born deaf or losing hearing later due to losses, increases, surgery, an accident, or age, hearing/auditory changes create very different challenges for the individual. Knowing the signs and affects of these experiences are intensely valuable as every relationship in the individual’s life also change. The type of change, the social-emotional support, modes of coping, acceptance, and ability to adapt are critical in resolving the stress and conflict that often occur.

Not many counselor(s)/therapist(s) are experienced in this specialty. I feel honored that parents, individuals, educators, and couples have openly shared themselves, their cultures and their lives with me. I recognize that understanding deafness, hearing differences, cultures and adaptive devices, are vital factors for the unique services I offer.