Support for d/Deaf People

D/deaf people face all the same struggles and

life challenges as hearing people with the added experience of

exclusion and marginalization from the mainstream hearing world

 

First, a bit about me. I’m a counsellor with an acquired (and sudden) hearing loss. My own limited experience has certainly opened my eyes to some of the barriers created by the “hearing world”.  As well, I’ve had the privilege of knowing and working with a number of d/Deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf/blind people who have opened up and generously shared with me bits of their lives, their experiences, their worlds.  This has profoundly impacted my view of the world – and my approach to counselling.  For this, I am forever grateful.

I am neither deaf nor part of the Deaf community, so my own personal experiences are obviously limited and this is likely important to you, when choosing a counsellor. I continue to do my best to educate myself. And while my professional training, education and experience give me certain skills and knowledge to share with you, I always believe that clients are the best experts on their own lives.  This is even more the case when it comes to Deaf culture. I’m constantly learning and hope that you’ll feel comfortable sharing and educating me when you think I’m missing or not understanding something.

When my chronic illness permits, I hope one day to begin learning ASL to allow me to communicate with d/Deaf people (not to mention to experience once again fully participating in a social situation). I still believe that the best counsellor for a d/Deaf person is a d/Deaf counsellor, and second best would be a counsellor fluent in ASL. Unfortunately, like most other areas of our world, such resources for deaf people are scarce.

Deaf-friendly writing therapy. In the mean time, I’m thrilled to be able to offer a an online counselling service that gives anyone, and especially people with a hearing loss – and who are comfortable communicating through written English – an additional option, one with the convenience and flexibility of being able to write to me any time of day or night, when you need it most! Written counselling also gives you the option of greater privacy because an interpreter is not needed. And because I don’t have office expenses, I’m able to offer lower fees and a sliding scale.

While having a hearing loss and, for many, Deafhood or Deaf culture in common, the many life experiences of d/Deaf people are also diverse. Were your parents d/Deaf? Did they communicate in Sign Language? Did you go to a school for the deaf? How much was Deaf culture part of your childhood. These different kinds of environments can profoundly shape your life experience.  For people with a hearing loss, the “hearing-centric society” we live in means enormous barriers and daily lack of access to equal participation in the world. And particularly for deaf people who are not well connected to the Deaf community, a sense of isolation can be acute.

Did you know that rates of abuse are higher for both deaf children and adults? It’s not surprising then that studies have also found higher rates of depression and anxiety among d/Deaf people. At the same time, accessible resources are outrageously scarce.

Online counselling can help

from the convenience and privacy of your own home

 

While I fully understand that many d/Deaf people don’t have the English writing skills and may not have the interest to communicate in writing, many others will feel comfortable with this method of counselling. And so this is one additional resource now available.

Please don’t worry about spelling, grammar or punctuation!

What’s important is that we are able to communicate

with each other in writing.

 

quill pen w sea shadow and quill pen coloured line borderYou can write to me any time – day or night – whenever you need it most. This is one of the beauties of online writing therapy. Using a secure, encrypted online counselling system, you can let me know what’s going on in your life and about the changes you’d love to see. Tell me about your hopes, your dreams, your struggles. Anything you like.  I’ll write back to you within 3 business days – at the most (often sooner). I see my role as your support, a compassionate, non-judgemental ear to bear witness to your story, your experiences; I am your partner in working towards the change you want in your life. I may have ideas, suggestions or resources to share with you, perhaps some new perspectives, new information. If you’re interested, I can share some exercises for you to go through on your own – or to work through with me (everything is optional!) But always, I believe that people are the experts on their own lives, their own experiences. So, together, as we write back and forth, we can brainstorm and talk about the things that are most important to you and your life – and how to begin creating the change you’re dreaming of.

Have a look around my website (and click on the following links) if you’d like to learn more about:

If you have any questions or concerns you’d like to discuss with me, please feel free to contact me through any of the following methods:

  • To contact me through my secure, encrypted online counselling system, click here. You’ll need to register and login (no charge for this).
  • You can also click here to e-mail me at lorraine.irlam [at] hushmail (dot) com, but if you wish to discuss anything private or confidential, I strongly recommend that you sign up for a free encrypted e-mail account at hushmail.com (If you use your regular e-mail account, messages you send to me are not encrypted, although my replies to you from my hushmail account are.)
  • If you have any simple questions that are NOT of a confidential nature, you can also send me a text at 604-771-4444.

And any time you feel ready to begin written online d/Deaf-friendly counselling, click here to get started.

I look forward to getting to know you!