Define CODA.

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The other day I saw a post by a friend of mine, they had been posting similar things over the past month or so, out of a great sense of despair.

I identified with their struggle and suggested they sought counselling as I knew it would redirect them to the light at the end of the tunnel. Yet, another post. More complimentary comments which were all true but not the answer they sought. Cyber friends cannot bring someone out of their depression as they are not qualified to do so. One can only reassure and when this wears off, more cries for help will inevitably be made. So once again, counselling was suggested..

Another day, another post. Someone else suggested counselling.

Another day, another post. Someone else once again suggested counselling but tailored for CODA’s. They identify themselves as a CODA of which, my sister is also one. This meant, they (finally?) listened..

CODA’s are forced to take on the role of being an interpreter (and then some) for their parents who happen to be deaf and in return tend to feel, they are the parent of their parent(s). This can sometimes make them feel “special” and above others.

Only natural.

But, what about deaf children of deaf adults, or hearing adults? Whichever way the situation is reversed, there is always another in the very same position, feeling the very same emotions. What exactly sets a hearing CODA apart from others who have also been forced to take on such a role?

Does this mean that being a CODA however you wish to identify with or define it, would not really make any difference to who the counsellor may be, due to the more familiar core issues being scratched, at the surface?

People should always retain the right to choose which counselling service they would prefer and most do advocate their right. It would mean then, they are “at home” with the counsellor and feel more or less, understood. Listened to. So long, both the counsellor and the patient are comfortable.

An example. 

If people wish to be specific, let them.

Just beware, of organisations taking advantage of one’s disadvantages.

I am more at home, with those who are prepared to step into other people’s shoes and walk at least a hundred miles in them. With those who are willing to keep an open mind and are not afraid, to explore the differing perspectives. With those who are willing to accept honesty, the truth and introspect themselves in order to improve. Otherwise…

Que sera, sera.

 

Being a child of deaf adults means we experience the same prejudices and take on the parental roles, regardless. Our life experiences may differ yet to a counsellor, the symptoms are the same.

Don’t forget, my parents are deaf. Therefore, I understand. My sister understands. My children understand. My friends, also understand. You (will) understand.

🙂

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Therapy, The Deaf Way.

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By SignHealth.

Over the past few weeks I have seen a campaign by SignHealth and their supporters from within the deaf community, steadily grow.

I wanted to share with you, my personal experience.

At one point last year, a deaf friend was concerned enough to put me into contact with someone offering their professional help except, how could I talk to them when their sibling was one of the bullies? The deaf world was much too small, typical and predictable for my liking. I felt extremely claustrophobic.

Eventually, my GP referred me for counselling to help lift me out of my depression and certain trains of thought. Members of the deaf community had brought all of my life altering experiences on so it was only natural for me to want to stick with a local counsellor, who was hearing and had very little (if no) experience with deaf clients.

My counsellor began the first of our many intensive sessions, asking if an interpreter should be present to help us communicate with ease. This was enough reason to make me clam up. I refused their offer politely and asked if we could continue without one, as I was confident it would work.

I did not at the time trust anyone that had any connections to the deaf community; enough to be anywhere near me. Not even an interpreter bound by confidence because they too, I could not trust.

In time, my counsellor’s deaf awareness grew with each session and once they took me by surprise by saying, “I am glad we didn’t use an interpreter because you would not have told me everything. You would have been extremely cautious. I did not think our sessions would work without one and you proved me wrong. You have taught me that not every deaf person needs an interpreter present and not every deaf person relies solely on sign language.”

Their acknowledgement and increased deaf awareness made my heart smile. I suddenly felt freer than I had ever been and that feeling of being finally understood, not just me but the deaf community too, how diverse it actually is and how our needs and abilities differ, was priceless. This was therapy, albeit my way.

Each to their own for reasons that should be known to themselves, only.

It is vital that we fight to retain our choice to be counselled however we wish, be it the deaf way or the hearing way in order to be at our most comfortable, for our therapy to succeed. And for that, we should be grateful such a service like SignHealth exists because they do work, for those who choose them. For those who need them. For those who solely rely on sign language, for they do exist.

No one deserves to be ignored.

I wish SignHealth all the best with their latest campaign, to continue providing “a national psychological therapy service where all the therapists are fluent in British Sign Language (BSL)”.

#TherapyTheDeafWay

Finally yet just as importantly, I would like to applaud SignHealth for adding captions to their videos, making it more inclusive and accessible to all. Thank you, for doing so. 🙂

~ SJ (Sara Jae)