Chapter One of Psychotherapy with Deaf Clients from Diverse Groups continued...
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Approaches heretofore considered off-limits for deaf clients, such as the humanistically oriented therapies, Adlerian therapy, cognitive therapy, and rational-emotive therapy, have made their appearance in the therapist's office and in the literature (Anderson & Watson, 1985; Gough, 1990; Sussman, 1988). Especially helpful are case studies, excerpts of therapy dialogue between the deaf client and therapist, case vignettes, and therapist commentaries (Corker, 1994; Harvey, 1989; Stewart, 1981). This new literature provides the needed encouragement for practitioners to try traditional and new approaches and techniques that are known to be effective with hearing clients but have been rarely or never used with deaf clients.
The implementation of effective psychotherapeutic practices clearly depends on the therapist. The role, characteristics, attributes, attitudes, skills, and competencies of the clinician comprise the most pivotal element in the psychotherapy relationship (American Psychological Association, 1992, 1993). When therapists understand and appreciate all the differing factors that make up the disparity between themselves and their deaf clients, they are then equipped to become culturally sensitive practitioners. And by building appropriate characteristics and skills upon this sensitivity, competency can be achieved. The therapist is increasingly becoming a major focus in psychotherapy process and outcome research and in the general literature (e.g., Rutan, 1992).