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Skills Necessary for Mental Health Professionals Working with Deaf People

Yumiko Hirotsu & Kota Takayama

International Visiting Researcher Program / Department of Social Work, Gallaudet University

Introduction Results
Labels are divided into 10 subcategories and 3 categories are formed. See Table 2.
Mental health is clearly an important issues for Deaf people.
However, Deaf people are under-served with regard to their Table 2. Categories
mental health needs (National Association of the Deaf, 2003). Category Subcategory Labels
The professional skills, multi-cultural and linguistic
Understanding on Deaf client Individualization All not same/ Fundamentally people are not same
competencies, which are specifically related to the Deaf
populations, are also needed to work with these individuals
Different from Hearing/ Visual/ Cannot adapt theories based on Hearing/ Pre-treatment is
(National Association of the Deaf, 2003). However, limited
Deaf perspective needed/ Cannot transfer learning from classroom to practice/ Language deprivation history/
numbers of professionals can meet both sets of requirements. Hearing status/ Family support/ Language challenged
In addition, professional training in this domain is still in the
development stage (Vernon, 2003). Skills of mental health professionals Use Sign/ Match to clients’ language/ Not to be afraid of asking what the clients talk/ Use
Language skills interpreters (communication) team/ Use CDIs
To overcome these obstacles, it is important to gather
relevant data from the professionals who currently work with
Deaf individuals. Professional knowledge Learn from clinical cases/ Continue professional training/ ADARA

Self care Dive into Deaf culture/ Stress management/ View widely

Self awareness Identity (H)/ Not to be afraid of asking

Method Skills in treatment Pre-treatment Not ready to therapy/ Introduce therapists/ Introduce resources

Semi-structured interviews with six mental health Treatment adaptation Theories are not for Deaf people/ Match services/ Know the programs in their living places
professionals who work with Deaf adults or children on a daily
basis were conducted. See Table 1. Mental health training for staffs/ Share information/ Use measurable methods/ Interpreter
Teamwork team and clinician team
The data was analyzed based on the KJ method (Kawakita,
1967). This qualitative method, also known as affinity
Education for Deaf clients Teach sign/ Awareness of mental health issues
diagrams, is a mechanism for collecting and organizing facts
relevant to a problem (Ulrich, 2003).The research question is
that “What is required in the therapy for Deaf populations?” References
(Gallaudet IRB PJID# 2834) Hara, J. (2015). Chokaku-shogaisha heno social work: Senmonsei
Discussion no kochiku wo mezashite [Social work for persons with
deafness: A study in competent of professionals]. Tokyo:
Akashi shoten.
Kawakita, J. (1967). Hasso-ho: Sozosei kaihatsu no tameni
1. Recommendations from the interviews are;
Table 1. Participants [Abdaction: For creativity development]. Tokyo: Chuokoron-
- flexible attitude and response to clients‘ needs shinsha.
ID License Place Years working with Deaf people Identity - wide range of information about clients, designed services for Deaf people and National Association of the Deaf. (2003). Position Statement on
Mental Health Services for People who are Deaf and Hard of
A Social School for the Deaf About 17 years Deaf interpreting services Hearing. Retrieved from National Association of the Deaf
Worker - continuous training and support post graduation website:
B Social Mental Health Center >1 year Hearing Steinberg, A. G., Sullivan, V. C., & Loew, R.C. (1998). Cultural and
Worker 2. Compared with mental health therapy for Hearing linguistic barriers to mental health service access: The Deaf
C Social Mental Health Center 27 years Deaf -> Pre-treatment and treatment adaptation are required consumer's perspective. The American Journal of Psychiatry,
155, 982-984.
Worker 3. Compared with skills in Japanese Social Worker (Hara, 2015) Ulrich, K. (2003, Oct). KJ diagram. Retrieved from University of
-> Individualization, interpreters and self care/ awareness are empathized Pennsylvania website:
D Social Mental Health Center 8 years Deaf
Worker KJdiagrams.pdf
4. Limitation Vernon, M. (2003). Historical perspectives of deaf people and
E Counselor Mental Health Center 24 years Deaf - A limited number of participants and bias of sampling psychology: 1950 to the present In Andrews, J. F., Leigh, I. W.,
& Weiner, M. T. (Eds.), Deaf People: Evolving perspectives
F Psychologist Mental Health Center 22 years Hearing - Comparison between licenses and countries and quantitative research from psychology, education, and sociology 1st edition (pp. 1-
14). Washington, D.C.: Pearson Education.