Counselling psychology and disability


  • Pavlo Kanellakis


This article addresses disability-related theory and research associated to attitudes and social action, equality of opportunity, respect and inclusion. It highlights the significance of disability in counselling psychology and that counselling psychologists (as other such professionals) need to be mindful of the wider disability issues that may be related to even those clients who do not apparently present with disabilities. Issues of terminology and conceptualisation of the terms disability versus handicap are then addressed. Linking issues of equality of opportunity, inclusion & respect to disability, as a psychosocial construct, leads to the exploration of individuals owning their own and their families’ disabilities and, consequently, challenging the positioning of disability outside the personal. Counselling psychologists’ approaches to working with disability are then discussed and four examples are explored. It is concluded that counselling psychologists can use their skills to intervene at preventative and organisational as well as psychological counselling/therapy level and that they are also contributing significantly as translators of medical jargon, mediators between clients and medical personnel, and as educators.