Let’s be clear: this is not another ‘support service’ to help you ‘overcome your disability’ aimed solely at fitting into an able-bodied world.
Let’s first acknowledge that people with disabilities are discriminated against.
Your voices are enormously undervalued and un-catered for in a world that privileges able-bodied people and doesn’t celebrate neurodiversity. That experience in itself can be incredibly painful and angering, let alone all the ‘other’ life experiences such as relationship difficulties, battles with anxiety, depression, grief, loneliness and trauma.
No one listens to your actual problems
You feel incredibly frustrated that services- therapeutic or otherwise- assume that problems disabled people may be experiencing are due to neurological or physical issues, rather than perfectly normal emotional responses to ordinary or extraordinary life situations.
Additionally you aren’t offered a way to have your voice heard. You can’t get into the building where the conference is happening on how to support disabled people. There’s not one disabled person quoted in an entire article on the disabled experience. People are uncomfortable to hear about your sex life. There’s no Auslan interpreter, no text-to-voice translator and no one asking: “how are you” and meaning it.
There aren’t any assistive devices in the counselling room.
wounded and disabled
asleep in dusty anthology
slumber until awoken by
– Jimmy Burns
With the technology of the modern world all of this is changing
It’s not enough for us to accept the status quo and allow invisibility of groups in our society. That’s why I wanted to offer Unveiled Stories in particular to people with disabilities, because I believe that you should be listened to, learned from and assisted in the ways you want.
You deserve access to quality services and quality journeys of problem-solving, pain-healing and empowerment. In this way narrative approaches combined with online therapy can broaden your ability to seek the life you’ve imagined.
Talking and being in a room with someone is not the only method of support available through e-counselling.
In addition to talking through video sessions, we can also use email, drawing, chat, video-sharing, letters, music-sharing and other creative ideas you yourself might have in order to explore and understand what is going on for you.
I position myself as an able-bodied person with counselling skills and experience in communicating with people in a variety of ways. I want to create safe and effective ways to help you tell your stories and then grow the sides of those stories that may not have been clear to yourself or those around you before.
A vital part of the Narrative Approach is discovering and enhancing the existing skills and knowledge you already have in dealing with problems invading your life. These existing skills are often overlooked in a problem-saturated narrative and even more so when someone is disabled. To be quite frank, that’s crazy.
We need to widen our understanding of what is a ‘strong’ story. I believe we can do that together, and I invite you to join me to discover what yours are.
Strong stories can bring about a freedom from ongoing suffering, and can even be a way to explore creative forms of justice-seeking, such as contributing to spaces that help other people.
Significant others may also be invited to play a vital role in counselling– by witnessing new narratives play out, supporting opportunities for success, and learning new ways to interact with you based on a strengthened preferred self-story. Although this is an important part of all Narrative practice, it can especially useful for people with intellectual disabilities who want to be understood in all their complexity.
You are the expert in your own life and you have the most intimate knowledge of the problems that you want to be understood by a counsellor.
Sometimes you just need someone to be open to hearing you.
We will live in a much more interesting, meaningful and enjoyably society when we make room for everyone to have a voice and give everyone the opportunity to be supported in that.
I am here to listen, in whatever ways that looks like.