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Deaf and Hearing Workers in Mental Health Work with Deaf and Hearing Clients

(Professionnels sourds et entendants travaillant auprès de clients sourds et entendants dans le domaine de la santé mentale)

Manuel CAJAL

12 / 1994

In the introduction of this paper we mentioned we would like to present some of the positive aspects of deaf and hearing professionals working together, some of the difficulties that arise and issues relating to interpreting in such situations. Looking at the comments made by us, it appears we both agree it should be seen that deaf and hearing professionals work together, work co-operatively and work in such a way to bring their respective skills and abilities to address the needs of clients and their families.

Davison suggested there were assumptions made as to why he should act as Chair for these meetings. He suggests that one of the reasons may be he was a hearing professional present and therefore his adopting this role was not questioned. It is interesting to note Ridgeway’s comment that on this occasion the real issue of power imbalance may not have been related to deaf or hearing issues but related to Davison’s job tittle!

From our perspectives the need to use a sign language interpreter was the most significant difficulty in these situations. Davison, personally felt this greatly inhibited the possibility of spontaneous interaction and that subtler nuances of language were lost in the interpretation. This can be resolved with deaf and hearing professionals working together whith deaf people and their families without the use of an interpreter. Appropriate planning prior to the meetings and de-briefing after each session, to look at the issues brought up, the perspectives of the respective individuals and how these could be worked out together in the future. These are of paramount importance.


communication, expérience professionnelle, famille, identité culturelle, méthodologie, modèle culturel, politique de santé, psychologie, santé mentale

, Europe, Royaume-Uni, Manchester


However again the lack of cultural awareness is probably the cause of greater frustration and misunderstandings between both deaf and non-deaf people alike regardless of position or title.

Working together was important in this particular situation as it reduced the possibility of information being manipulated and being used by the client or family to cause divisions within the Department.


GESTES Groupe d’Etude Spécialisé "Thérapies et Surdités"has organised the ESMHD European Society for Mental Health and Deafnessthird international congress in Paris, on december 1994. The publication of the proceedings will occur later on.

Written from the speeches of Paul DAVISON, Senior Registrar in Psychiatry; Sharon Marylin RIDGEWAY, Counselling and Research Psychologist, National Centre for Mental Health and Deafness, Prestwich Hospital, Bury New Road, Manchester, M25 7BL, UNITED KINGDOM Tel: 061 773 9121 ou 441 61 773 3407, Fax: 441 61 798 5853


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GESTES (Groupe d’Etudes Spécialisé Thérapies et Surdité) - 8 rue Michel Peter, 75013 Paris, FRANCE. Tel/Fax 00(331)43 31 25 00 - France - gestes (@)

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