Working With Clients With Physical Disabilities
In this video, Dr. Linda R. Mona demonstrates disability affirmative therapy (DAT), a framework for psychotherapy with people with physical disabilities.
DAT is a metatheoretical perspective that provides a disability-positive context where specific treatment interventions can be effectively applied. The DAT model focuses on empowerment and acknowledgement of social marginalization and environmental barriers, an appreciation of the dynamic nature of disability, consideration of the medical realities of persons with disabilities, and recognition of personal coping strategies.
Using established therapeutic practices (e.g., cognitive–behavioral therapy, behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques) within a disability-affirmative framework allows for a truly integrated approach that includes addressing the individual's presenting symptoms as well as facilitating awareness of social and political factors that may be affecting quality of life.
In this demonstration, Dr. Mona works with a woman with a physical disability who is having difficulty finding a job. Dr. Mona establishes a therapeutic environment that allows for affirmative goal-setting, an integrated view of the self, and attention to the values of flexibility and creativity that are prized in the disability community.