Specialist Mental Health Counselling for

Adults with Disabilities

Nationwide Team of Counsellors & Psychotherapists

One of the most important aspects of therapy is the relationship you form with your therapist. Therapists from the same cultural group will help you experience a sense of belonging and connection with similar challenges. Applying expertise, and care our therapists support adults, teenagers, family members, couples & carers with expert counselling.

Matching disabled therapists to adults with disabilities

Mental Health Counselling for

Adults with Disabilities

Nationwide Specialist Team of Therapists

Cultural Experiences

One of the most critical aspects of therapy is the relationship you form with your therapist.

Therapists from the same cultural group will help you experience a sense of belonging and connection with similar challenges to yours.

Applying expertise and care, our specialist therapists support adults, teenagers, family members, couples & carers with expert counselling.

Man stood up with his hand touching another ladies hand in a grip. He appears to be supporting her. They are in the woods, the picture indicates the support Vestibular Disorder Counselling has given her.

Your Service

Specialist Disability Counselling for Adults with Mental or Emotional Health Conditions due to a Disability or Injury.

Large Team of Counsellors & Psychotherapists with the SAME or SIMILAR Disability/Injury as you.

Free Funding Applications, Self-Pay, Employment Support, Professional Organisations.

Affordable, Professional Disability Focused Therapy from Any Device. Text, Chat & Video.

Convenient, Discreet, Professional Online Therapy Anytime, Anywhere.

Lady sat in her kitchen, she has a white t-shirt and denim shirt over the top, she has brown wavy hair. She is looking into her laptop taking a disability counselling session.

Your Service

Specialist Disability Counselling for Adults with Mental or Emotional Health Conditions due to a Disability or Injury.

Large Team of Counsellors & Psychotherapists with the SAME or SIMILAR Disability/Injury as you.

Free Funding Applications, Self-Pay, Employment Support, Professional Organisations.

Affordable, Professional Disability Focused Therapy from Any Device. Text, Chat & Video.

Convenient, Discreet, Professional Online Therapy Anytime, Anywhere.

Lady with brown jumper, she has a loss of lim on the arm. She is stood up and smiling. She feels better after a disability counselling session

Psychological Support

Bringing together a large team of expert therapists who have lived experience with the same or similar disability to the client is the driving force of DisabilityPlus.

Disability culture is about visibility and self-value. As with many groups in society, recognition by others only comes with self-awareness within the group of the group’s differences and strengths. Disability culture offers ways for people with different disabilities to pursue their own and shared goals.

This is why we support you with therapists from the same or similar disability.

Psychological Support

Bringing together a large team of expert therapists who have lived experience with the same or similar disability to the client is the driving force of DisabilityPlus.

Disability culture is about visibility and self-value. As with many groups in society, recognition by others only comes with self-awareness within the group of the group’s differences and strengths.

Disability culture offers ways for people with different disabilities to pursue their own and shared goals.

This is why we support you with therapists from the same or similar disability.

Counselling

Navigating life can often become overwhelming.  Whether you’re anxious about finances, struggling with employment, experiencing the loss of a loved one, or coping with your disability or injury.

Our professional counsellors and psychologists provide the support and expert therapy you need to face obstacles and take control.

At DisabilityPlus we see the whole you, not just the problems you face. Affirming your culture and background, we will work together with you to develop an individualised program for you with a therapist who understands your specific issues from the very first session.

Spinal Cord Counselling

Counselling

Navigating life can often become overwhelming.  Whether you’re anxious about finances, struggling with employment, experiencing the loss of a loved one, or coping with your disability or injury.

Our professional counsellors and psychologists provide the support and expert therapy you need to face obstacles and take control.

At DisabilityPlus we see the whole you, not just the problems you face. Affirming your culture and background, we will work together with you to develop an individualised program for you with a therapist who understands your specific issues from the very first session.

Funding Options

Referrals

Our Disability Counselling referrals cater for all types of requirements, you can contact us directly for more information or complete a self-referral form to move to the next step. We reply to you within 24 hours Monday to Friday.

NHS Applications

Disability Counselling Applications for Free NHS Funding

You firstly Self-Refer by using this link:  NHS Self-Referral

Once you have completed the form, you will be asked to attend a free counselling session; this session helps us make an application for you.

No NHS application is guaranteed to be successful; we do, though, support most NHS regions in the UK.

A typical timescale to start the sessions is 12 weeks from the date of the assessment session.

Please let us know if you have any questions by contacting us on the form below this section.

Professional Organisations

We support many organisations with Disability Counselling including solicitors, employment support all the way through to smaller organisations that need support.

Contact us to find out more.

Self-Pay Plans

Specialist Disability Counselling Sessions are 50 minutes long and booked in advance.

We offer self-pay plans, including pay-by-session & saver packs where you can buy groups of 3 & 6 sessions at reduced price points.

Single Session – £85

3 Session Saver – £210 (£70)

6 Session Saver – £360 (£60)

Please contact us if you are in financial difficulties.

 

Mixed Plans

Being a major service, we can offer Counselling with a mixed plan. This means you can start paying privately & then if or when funding comes in you can switch to a funded model of counselling.

Contact us to find out more

Our Specialist Therapies

Our Specialist Therapies

Contact us

6 + 12 =

Phone

+44 7539 877357

Email

info@disabilityplus.co.uk

Head Office Address

DisabilityPlus House, 25 Pembroke Avenue, Hersham, KT12 4NT

 

 

 

Interesting Articles

Supporting Disability

When we, as a profession, consider ways to advance psychotherapy, we must begin by striving for nothing less than fair, accessible, and clinically competent services for all populations—especially those who have historically been underserved and underrepresented. One such population frequently overlooked and underappreciated in a global realm are persons with disabilities (PWD), who form the largest minority in the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019) in the United Kingdom alone reported more than 14.1 million adults with a registered disability.

The authors defined the term “disability” as a physical or mental limitation impacting one or more major life activities. 

The Psychological Association’s Guidelines for Assessment of and Intervention With Persons With Disabilities (2012) described the lack of training psychologists receive regarding disability. This is concerning in and of itself, given the considerable amount of individuals living with disabilities.

Limited training available in serving clients with disabilities further hinders the profession’s ability to advance. For our profession and psychotherapy as a whole to progress and provide the culturally responsive services to which our clients are entitled, the profession and clinicians must engage in a conversation about disability education, concerns, rights, and areas of advocacy. 

Societal Messages

From a young age, children with disabilities hear they are different in various settings (i.e., school, doctors, society). Many professionals continue to operate from the medical model, which emphasises “fixing” what is considered broken. This can imply that if something cannot be fixed, the person is “broken.” These environmental messages experienced by children with disabilities establish their worldview of themselves and others (Chapel, 2005). Environmental messages do not seize in childhood; they continue throughout the lifespan into adulthood with more complexities as the PWD experiences the world around them. 

PWD deal with challenges and issues within their families, environment, and society. Depending on the family’s understanding of disability and the various identities, those negative messages can be perpetuated and further oppress the PWD’s abilities and strengths. Based on the information they receive from professionals, families often have a negative understanding of disability, which can also be influenced by cultural beliefs.

Depending on the limitations of the PWD, families may assume the individual to be incapable. Due to these experiences, understanding how to work with clients with disabilities and the systems they navigate is vital to addressing concerns while providing culturally responsive care (Tapia-Fuselier & Ray, 2019). Providing sensitive care begins with understanding the barriers faced by PWD. 

Environmental Barriers

The CDC (2019) describes different environmental barriers, thus placing more significant hardships on PWDs. These include: 

  1. Attitudinal barriers (such as the use of stereotypes, stigma, and discrimination)
  2. Communication barriers (such as means of communication that are inaccessible to PWD)
  3. Physical barriers (such as those that hinder mobility)
  4. Policy barriers (lack of familiarity or not adhering to enacted laws and regulations)
  5. Programmatic barriers (such as difficulties with the provision of healthcare services and programming)
  6. Social barriers (such as unequal employment rates and a lessened likelihood of graduating high school)
  7. Transportation barriers (often due to inaccessibility; CDC, 2019).

Wright (1983) provided that the gravity of one’s limitations can be amplified or reduced based on environmental conditions and that we cannot accurately consider concerns about coping and adjusting to one’s disability without first acknowledging the specific problem(s) within a social and physical environment.

While clinicians without disabilities will not be able to truly understand the magnitude of barriers and their effects on persons with a disability, we must empathize and stay with clients in the process of manoeuvring through various systems and encourage change on a communal level (Marini et al., 2018).

Psychosocial Attitudes

While perceptions and beliefs about disabilities vary depending on one’s location and country of origin, there are a plethora of reasons why disability-based stigma continues to exist across the globe. Values, beliefs, family members, places of worship, education systems, and the media can influence attitudes (Joe & Miller, 1987). In addition, outside factors such as perceptions of physical attractiveness, competencies and abilities, and communication skills can influence us (Gresham, 1982; Longo & Ashmore, 1995; Yuker, 1988). 

We may perceive an increase in comfort in those most similar to us based on age, ethnicity, educational attainment, and socioeconomic status (Gosse & Sheppard, 1979; McGuire, 1969; Rabkin, 1972; Sue & Sue, 1999). Such factors and previously held beliefs can influence one’s perception and attitudes toward other individuals—especially those with disabilities. 

Rohwerder (2018) found that disability stigma can often be attributed to misunderstandings and lack of familiarity with causes and types of disabilities, misperceptions about the abilities of persons with disabilities (e.g., not being able to contribute financially or engage in intimacy), and both proposed and enacted policies that do not support persons with disabilities. For example, historically, of the disability categories, persons with physical disabilities are the least stigmatised, followed by individuals with cognitive disabilities, individuals with intellectual disabilities, and individuals with mental illnesses (Antonak, 1980; Charlton, 1998; Tringo, 1970).

While invisible disabilities are becoming more accepted by society through mental health advocacy efforts, they remain highly stigmatized due to misperceptions about hidden disabilities and what they entail. Many negative attitudes toward disability can ultimately be attributed to a lack of contact and positive exposure to persons with disabilities and a lack of knowledge base and education about disabilities. 

While Olkin (1999) explained that a first impression, appearance, and the severity of one’s disability could, in fact, influence attitudes, initial negative attitudes lessen upon familiarity with the individual and an understanding that disability is but one trait. Increasing contact, closeness, and accurate learning opportunities about disabilities (not based on media portrayals) can, and have, been shown to result in more positive attitudes toward PWDs and disabilities.  

Internalized Biases

Before exploring the ways to improve serving PWD in psychotherapy, we must address internalized biases about PWD. Take a moment to consider the meaning of the word “disability.” Often, people create an image in their mind of what they see when they read the term “disability.” The idea that appears may represent what society depicts as someone with a disability or based on personal experience. Examining the thoughts and feelings, we associate with the image is essential to further work through biases about PWD. 

Individuals without disabilities tend to concentrate on what they perceive to be adverse aspects of having a disability (Smart, 2009). If not checked, it can influence clinicians’ work with clients and their families (Hartley, 2012). Therefore, therapists must strive to increase knowledge and competencies when working with the disability community. 

Exploring self as the therapist is essential to address necessary conversations with clients with disabilities regarding their disability and intersecting identities. If internalized biases are not investigated or addressed, clients with disabilities may encounter difficult experiences with a therapist, which could further oppress their disability identity. By working through misconceptions about PWD, therapists have more internal resources to inquire about and manage aspects of the client’s life that may be difficult or uncomfortable to discuss (i.e., sex, relationships, barriers, life plan, etc.). Applying the information presented will lead to more thoughtful and responsive care for PWD. 

Recommendations

  • The use of expressive arts provides an opportunity to bridge PWD’s experience with a disability. 
  • Participate in psychology-focused, and interdisciplinary-based training focused on serving clients with disabilities.
  • Update the intake paperwork process to be more accessible (i.e., online platform, large print, simple language, etc.).
  • Ensure access to the clinic entrance, waiting room, and therapy room (signs, movable furniture, adjustable lighting) for mobility aids.
  • Provide referrals and resources for axillary services to reduce healthcare barriers.
  • Have access to interpreters (in-person or video relay) and translation services for linguistically diverse and Deaf/deaf or hard of hearing clients.
  • Consider cultural perspectives from family/partner(s) toward PWD disability.
  • Apply an intersectionality framework when working with this population as all aspects of identity, including disability status, must be considered.
  • Identify ways to engage in advocacy (through legislative votes, conversations about accessibility, etc.).
  • Utilize the APA’s Guidelines For Assessment of and Intervention With Persons With Disabilities and ARCA Disability-Related Counseling Competencies to ensure culturally responsive care.

Conclusion

Marini and Stebnicki (2018) described the extensive literature regarding the impact perceived adverse conditions could have on an individual, which is why clinicians must be willing to address social justice concerns hindering client development and growth within various realms of their lives. It is not enough for therapists to help clients adjust to living in a non-disabled world, as our work will be left “unfinished or incomplete” (Marini & Stebnicki, 2018). As our profession continues to serve marginalized and underserved populations, such as persons with disabilities, increased education, training, and advocacy must remain at the forefront of our work.

Stereotyping

Stereotyping, stigma, and discrimination are challenges people with disability face daily. Much of the disabled community faces exclusion from parts of society other people take for granted.

Disability exclusion has stemmed from the belief that having a disability makes you ‘less than.’ In recent years, the disabled community has also been silenced by the popularised positivity movement that believes ‘the only disability is a bad attitude.’ Although, on a surface level, this statement sounds encouraging, both attitudes have the underlying message that it is up to the disabled community to change if they want to be part of society.

Disability activist Stella Young explained brilliantly the barriers that people with disability face are societal and that no amount of positivity will be able to break these barriers down.

“You know, no amount of smiling at a flight of stairs has ever made it turn into a ramp. Never. Smiling at a television screen isn’t going to make closed captions appear for people who are deaf. No amount of standing in the middle of a bookshop and radiating a positive attitude is going to turn all those books into Braille,” said Stella.

To become an all-inclusive and accessible society, we need to change how we view disability and collaborate with the disabled community to break down barriers.

The social model vs the medical

So, how do we change our lens on disability? Two models view disability in vastly different ways: social and medical.

The medical model views disability as a consequence of a health condition, disease or accident that disrupts function. The model focuses on preventing or curing the illness. Here, disability is something ‘wrong’ that needs fixing to make a person more ‘normal’.

The social model of disability completely flips this perspective. It sees disability as the attitudinal, physical, systemic, communication, and technological barriers created by society. It does not deny the impact of an individual’s impairment, but it does seek to put the responsibility on the community to accommodate people living with disability, rather than expecting the individual to adapt to society.

a graphic of a stick figure. one the right side of the stick figure are examples of the medical model including "cant go to the cinemas because they are Deaf." on the left side of the stick figure are examples of the social model including "cinemas hasn't provided closed captions."

The medical model VS the social model

Removing barriers in society

The social model of disability states that there are six different types of barriers people with disability face. Barrier removal requires expertise, collaboration, advocacy and legal backing. Everyone can play a part in educating themselves about these barriers and learn how to create new pathways to ensure our society is as accessible and inclusive as possible.

Attitudinal barriers

Attitudinal barriers are created by individuals who can only see the impairment, not the person with a disability. At its worst, believing in the stigma attached to disability can result in bullying, isolation and even violence.

On the flip side, people can be incredibly condescending, using people with disability as ‘inspirational porn.’ Although this belief has no malicious intent, people with disability do not exist to make others feel good. Being condescending can cause just as much damage as being purposefully hurtful.

Stella Young spoke about the effects different attitudes have on the disabled community in her 2014 TED Talk, “I’m not your inspiration, thank you very much.”

“I want to live in a world where we don’t have such low expectations of disabled people that we are congratulated for getting out of bed and remembering our own names in the morning. I want to live in a world where we value genuine achievement for disabled people,” said Stella.

This barrier is the underlying issue of all the other barriers. People may be unaware of their negative attitudes, so it is important to make a conscious effort to unlearn these stereotypes. Everyone is deserving of the same respect and rights no matter their disability.

Physical barriers

Physical barriers refer to inaccessible environments due to how they were designed.

Examples include buildings with no wheelchair access, inadequate lighting that creates poor visibility for people with low vision, and sidewalks that are too narrow for walking aids or doorknobs that are difficult to grasp for people with arthritis.

There is already a lot of change in this space, like introducing wheelchair-accessible beach mats and low sensory quiet hours at grocery stores. However, there is always more to be done. Architects, designers, builders, and town planners must put accessibility first to ensure everyone can enjoy society, rather than a select few.

Systemic barriers

Systemic barriers are the laws, policies, practices, or strategies designed by the government or organisations that discriminate against people with disabilities.

The systemic barriers often stop people from living their day-to-day life. Someone in a wheelchair may struggle to get places if their local train station does not have a ramp, or someone with sensory processing issues may struggle to complete work if they are denied a reasonable adjustment of using noise-cancelling headphones. Peter, on the autism spectrum, has found his productivity at work has increased since using noise-cancelling headphones.

Unfortunately, discriminatory laws and policies are often only changed after immense pressure from advocacy groups.

Alastair McEwin AM is the Commissioner for the disability royal commission and firmly believes that removing systemic barriers is key to achieving inclusion.

“My drive for the work I do is, quite simply, to ensure that in the future, no disabled person has to experience discrimination or barriers to mainstream society in the same way I have experienced discrimination and barriers as a deaf person,” said Alastair.

Communication barriers

Communication barriers affect people with disabilities that impact their hearing, speaking, reading, writing, or understanding. Communication is intertwined with everything we do. We need communication to work, build relationships and seek support.

Just because someone does not communicate the same way you do does not mean they should be left out of the conversation. Breaking down communication barriers can be very simple. Speech pathologist Dr Joanne Steel clearly suggested ways to improve communication.

“Regardless of their speech abilities or cognitive skills, everyone has the right to communicate. So treat them the same as you would any other person, talk directly to them, and ask them questions,” said Joanne.

Other ways to improve communication include hiring an Auslan interpreter at speaking events, including braille or electronic versions of menus at restaurants, and writing important information in simple, plain English.

Technological and digital barriers

Technology has many benefits for people with disability. It has helped to break down some of the barriers on this list. Thanks to technology, people with disability have been able to access education, work remotely and improve communication and community connection. However, there are still some significant accessibility barriers that come with technology.

Breaking down barriers as an employer

Employers can break down barriers for people with disability in many different ways. One of the most impactful ways is to hire someone with a disability. Not only does employing someone with a disability help the person become a contributing member of society, but it can also have significant benefits for the business.

At EPIC Assist, we understand it can be hard to know where to start when hiring someone with a disability for the first time. We work closely with employers to understand their needs and find the right person for the job. We also offer guidance and can help organise workplace adjustments and provide ongoing support after the employee is on the job.

Contact EPIC Assist today if you want to help break down barriers for people with disability and make diverse and inclusive hiring a priority.

Positive & Negative

Discrimination can be both positive and negative. This may come as a surprise, as it’s usually harmful discrimination we hear about. Let’s look at the two types of discrimination and where you might see them.

Negative Discrimination

Negative discrimination means putting a person at a disadvantage due to their protected characteristics. For example, this could mean overlooking a person for promotion because of their religion, despite being the most qualified employee for the role.

Positive Discrimination

Positive discrimination means favouring an individual because of their protected characteristics, despite that person being less capable or less qualified than another. For example, if a person is awarded a promotion due to being disabled, even though another person without any protected characteristics was more qualified for the position, this could be seen as positive discrimination.

The goal of positive discrimination is usually to reduce inequality in the workplace. This could include increasing the number of employees from minority backgrounds within the business. However, this does not necessarily mean that positive discrimination is the right thing to do or that it is legally justifiable.

Protected Characteristics – Explained

When we’re talking about discrimination, whether that be positive or negative discrimination, the term ‘protected characteristics’ will regularly crop up. But what are the protected characteristics, and what does it mean to possess one of these characteristics?

The Equality Act 2010 sets out the protected characteristics against which it is illegal to discriminate. If a person holds one of these characteristics, it is unlawful to discriminate against that person due to their protected characteristic.

The protected characteristics that are set out in the Equality Act are as follows:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage or civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

Examples Of Positive Discrimination

There are many different ways in which positive discrimination can take within the workplace. Let’s take a look at a few examples to illustrate this.

  1. Two people are applying for the same job role. One of the applicants is from an ethnic minority and is underqualified for the position. However, the hiring manager decides to hire the applicant to increase the company’s diversity, turning down the more qualified applicant. This could be classed as positive discrimination as the hiring manager has chosen the applicant from an ethnic minority rather than the applicant who was best qualified for the role.
  2. A business is forced to make redundancies due to a reduction in profits. An employee with a disability is underperforming, but the company decides to make a better-performing employee redundant to maintain their record for employing those with disabilities. This could be classed as positive discrimination as redundancies were made due to protected characteristics rather than based on individual performance.
  3. There is an opportunity for promotion within the business, and two employees decide to apply – one male and one female. The female employee is better qualified and has more experience than the male. However, as all the existing managers are female, the hiring manager decides to promote the male to increase the team’s diversity. This could be seen as positive discrimination, as the hiring manager has chosen the employee based on their gender rather than their skill set.

What Are The Effects Of Positive Discrimination In The Workplace?

Whilst positive discrimination may seem like the answer to increasing diversity and equality in the workplace, some negative consequences may occur.

The most significant impact of positive discrimination in the workplace is that it may affect morale and employee satisfaction. If your existing employees start to think that decisions when it comes to hiring and promotion are being made based on protected characteristics rather than skills, experience and performance, you may find that they become dissatisfied with their job and morale suffers as a result. They could even lodge a claim at an employment tribunal for discrimination if they are overlooked for promotion.

Begin to make hiring decisions based on protected characteristics and ignore skills and experience. You might also find that the collective skills and expertise held by the team drop as a result. Whilst your team’s diversity and equality may increase, it will hurt performance if you don’t consider qualifications and experience in your hiring decisions, and your operations may suffer as a result.

To avoid positive discrimination in the workplace, it’s essential to ensure that you make decisions based on pre-determined criteria rather than the protected characteristics that the applicant holds.

Is Positive Discrimination Legal In The UK?

It can be tempting to utilise positive discrimination to increase diversity in your workforce and give more significant opportunities to those with protected characteristics. But is positive discrimination legal in the UK, and is it something you should use?

In the UK, treating a person with protected characteristics more favourably than someone who is better qualified or experienced and doesn’t have a protected characteristic is illegal. Although you may think that you are discriminating for a positive reason, it is still discrimination and is therefore unlawful..

What Is The Difference Between Positive Discrimination And Positive Action?

At first glance, you may think that positive action and positive discrimination are the same things. After all, both aim to increase diversity by giving opportunities to those who might otherwise be overlooked. However, you need to be aware of some important differences between positive discrimination and positive action.

Positive discrimination is treating people with protected characteristics more favourably than people in other groups, even if they are less qualified or experienced. On the other hand, positive action involves taking steps to increase representation without using preferential treatment.

A key example of positive action is organisations providing funding and support for women interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and math (STEM). STEM jobs are typically male-dominated; however, by providing targeted initiatives aimed at women (who tend to be underrepresented), organisations can make positive steps towards increasing diversity in their workforce.

It’s important to note that positive action could become discrimination if the company decides to employ a less qualified female in the STEM role to increase diversity rather than a more qualified male. However, if a male and female both applied for the same role and were equally qualified and experienced, the company would be allowed to choose to employ the female over the male to increase diversity in the workforce under positive action.