Family therapy and dis/ableism: constructions of disability in family therapy literature

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Family therapy has taken on board issues of human diversity such as race, gender, and poverty in its theorising and practise. We wanted to know more about how disability is constructed in contemporary family therapy literature and what are the discourses that family therapists draw upon when writing about their practices concerning impairment and disability? We reviewed four peer reviewed family therapy journals, published during 2010 and 2011 for articles about disability. Thirty-six articles were analysed and interpreted by means of Critical Discourse Analysis. Whilst the findings suggest that these papers are predominantly informed by a medical and personal tragedy discourse of disability, the articles also drew on a broader range of social discourses. Our interpretation of the data suggests that critical reflection is required concerning the theory and practice of family therapy with disabled people. Engagement with dis/ableism may enrich understandings and support access to a wider range of stories of impairment and disability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-158
JournalHuman Systems: The Journal of Therapy, Consultation and Training
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event8th European Family Therapy Association (EFTA) Congress - Istanbul, United Kingdom
Duration: 24 Oct 201327 Oct 2013


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