Enhancing Perspectives When Working with Deaf Individuals: From Disability to Culture

Michelle Cline, LCSW

Being Deaf is not just about hearing loss. In order to work effectively with members of the Deaf community, it is important to understand that Deaf individuals have their own unique culture and language. This workshop will explore Deafness as a characteristic rather than pathology and the implications of this in clinical assessment and counseling with individuals with hearing loss. Participants will learn about Deaf culture and identity, the influence of communication differences in mental health assessment, and biases such as audism (the notion that one is superior based on one’s ability to hear or to behave in the manner of one who hears) that may negatively impact the therapeutic alliance. In addition, participants will be given practical knowledge and skills for working with deaf individuals with an interpreter.


  • Identify key aspects of the Deaf culture, including the difference between Deaf and deaf, Deaf pride, and Deafness as a characteristic rather than pathology.
  • Define audism and the potentially negative impact it can have on developing a therapeutic alliance with Deaf individuals.
  • Understand communication differences between deaf individuals using American Sign Language and hearing individuals, and its role in mental health assessment.
  • Understand how to work with an interpreter when providing clinical services to deaf individuals.

Location: Morris County Public Library, 30 East Hanover Avenue, Whippany, NJ 07981

Date: Tuesday, December 3, 2013                    Time: 9:30a.m. – 2:00p.m.
Registration and light breakfast will take place from 9:30 – 10:00a.m. The training itself will begin promptly at 10:00a.m.

Target Audience: Mental Health Administrators, Clinicians, Self-Help Center Managers/Facilitators, Screeners, Case Managers. This is a beginner level training.

CEUs: Social Workers and Counselors will receive 4 CEUs in Clinical or Cultural Competence. FAMILYConnections is approved as a provider for continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), www.aswb.org, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program (provider #1252) and by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) Approved Continuing Education Provider program (provider #6604).

In accordance with ASWB and NBCC guidelines, all participants must sign in and out and complete a course evaluation in order to receive CEUs. Partial credit will not be given to those arriving late or leaving early.

Directions and Parking Information: Please visit: http://www.gti.net/mocolib1/compass.html. Detailed directions and information will be sent to registrants in a confirmation email.

Facilities: If you need accommodations for a disability, please contact Niki DeVonish, Training Coordinator, at 973-323-3454.

Registration: Registration will remain open until Monday, November 25, 2013.
The cost of the training is $25. The fee is waived for staff of DMHAS-contracted mental health agencies and self-help centers (please click here for a complete list of eligible agencies).

Please note: Registration for this training is full and has been closed.

Please note that in order to maximize the number of agencies benefitting from CultureConnections trainings, we will not accept more than 3 registrants per agency. We ask each agency to coordinate registrations so that no more than 3 individuals register for any given training. If space permits, additional registrations from the same agency will be accepted after the Priority Registration deadline on November 15th.

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