Megan Kirshbaum, PhD
(Through the Looking Glass, 1994) [5 pages]
Disability culture has seemed most consciously defined by individuals who are at its edges, both in and out of the culture, on the verge of entrance, or who have experienced a change in their degree of involvement. This article describes the overall philosophy and intervention approaches at Through the Looking Glass in which we have chosen to pursue a conscious de-pathologizing process, where we bring the perspectives of the disability culture(s) to clinical intervention with families that have disability issues in parent or child. An attempt is made to focus on aspects of infant mental health and family therapy modalities which are consistent with the de-pathologizing process. Staff "peer clinicians" (psychotherapists with personal disability experience) frequently function as cultural intermediaries and reframing agents. A peer clinician has a profound advantage for beginning to reframe the cluster of connotations associated with disability; their beings present a reframe: a disability peer who is a survivor, a provider, a person with authority, etc. Negative suggestions can be counteracted. Isolation can begin to be alleviated. (This is the original manuscript that was published in The Family Psychologist, 10 (4) 8-12.)
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