MENTAL HEALTH INTERPRETING
Deaf people come in all shapes and sizes. They face personal challenges like any other. Deaf individuals have some of the highest rates of abuse, Deaf/Hearing marriages have tremendously high divorce rates, and often substance abuse runs rampant among the Deaf in many parts of the country. The Deaf need counseling/mental health services of all kinds with all levels of severity. If you need an interpreter for mental health environments, feel free to contact our office.
Are you a counselor or curious about the challenges the Deaf face? You can look at our Deafness statistics page to find out more about statistics surrounding Deafness mental health challenges.
For some tips on working with the Deaf in the mental health field, look below. To see some mental health videos targeting the Deaf from well known Hollywood actresses, take a look to the right.
If you have any additional questions, don't hesitate to contact our office.
Deanne Bray is known for her starring role on Sue Thomas FBEye, and her additional appearances on shows like CSI, Heroes, Switched at Birth, Grey's Anatomy and more.
QUICK TIPS FOR WORKING WITH THE DEAF IN A
MENTAL HEALTH SETTING:
1) Always look your Deaf patients in the eyes.
Even if your patients are looking at the interpreter, always
look at them. It breeds a connection and keeps the focus on them
not the interpreter.
2) Don't have your interpreter sit too close.
If you and your interpreter are too close to one another it can
create a visual barrier. Having the interpreter at a slight distance
can assist with the overall comfort in the environment.
3) Watch the body language and facial expression of the Deaf.
Many counselors rely too much on the interpreter, and forget
to watch the Deaf for cues which can be critical when counseling.
4) Talk directly to the Deaf consumer using first person terms.
Avoid telling the interpreter "Tell him... / tell her..." but act as
though the interpreter is not in the room.
5) The Deaf come in all shapes and sizes.
That means some Deaf patients are open, some are closed. Some
are honest, some are not. Some are skilled at expressing their
feelings, some have no skill in self expression. Some recognize
their own issues, some don't. Like in any counseling session, the
Deaf are well served by a counselor digging to help them progress
in their personal mental health journey.
6) Remember YOUR facial expressions matter.
The Deaf are visual people, they watch and see everything, and
that includes YOUR facial expressions as a counselor. If you have
an intense or dramatic "thinking face" the message to the Deaf
can be quite different than it is to the Hearing. It's important to
pay attention to the messages your face and body convey when
working with the Deaf.
7) Keep in mind there are cultural differences between the
Deaf and the Hearing.
Sometimes cultural differences can become a point
of contention if they are misunderstood. If you have questions
about the Deaf Culture you can contact our office, or speak with
your interpreter on site prior to or after a session. The interpreter
is not there to advise, however he/she can discuss cultural
aspects of Deafness from an educational standpoint.
Shoshannah Stern is known for her ongoing roles in shows like Jericho, Weeds, and her brief roles in shows such as Cold Case and Lie to Me.