Disability-Affirmative Therapy

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Disability-Affirmative Therapy

A Case Formulation Template for Clients with Disabilities

by Rhoda Olkin

2017, Published by Oxford University Press | 264 Pages
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Publisher Description

  • D-AT is a practical approach that walks readers through a template of nine factors to inquire about with clients with disabilities
  • Represents a hybrid of two fields – disability studies and clinical psychology
  • Olkin’s insider perspective is apparent in the nonpathologizing of disability, and in infusing disability culture into understanding of clients with disabilities
  • Unique in addressing clinical work using a disability studies perspective

Clinicians outside of rehabilitation psychology do not receive training on how to work with clients with disabilities. Nonetheless, given that people with disabilities comprise over 15% of the population, virtually all clinicians will have clients with disabilities in their practice. Without education or training in disability, clinicians are prone to make errors in estimating the role of disability in the presenting problems and the case formulation.

Disability-Affirmative Therapy (D-AT) helps clinicians put the disability of a client into proper focus, without making one of the usual mistakes associated with cross-cultural therapy: overinflating the role of the disability, or underestimating its profound effects. D-AT provides a template for evaluation – nine areas to be discussed with the client – that allows understanding of the client’s lifetime experiences with disability. The template is not a theory of therapy, but an overlay onto the therapist’s own approach, thus having broad appeal and utility. D-AT is a positive and affirming approach to therapy with clients with disabilities, regardless of the theory of therapy used. The book contains many vignettes to illustrate key points and an extended case example to which the D-AT template is applied. Grounded in social and clinical psychology research, this book will be an important and unique guide to all clinicians working with clients with disabilities and their families.

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