Swain, John, Griffiths, Carol Buswell and Heyman, Bob (2003) Towards a social model approach to counselling disabled clients. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 31 (1). pp. 137-152. ISSN 0306-9885

The social model of disability has emerged over the past 30 years in Britain to challenge the dominant individual, particularly medical and tragedy, models. This social model is borne from the experiences of disabled people and essentially defines disability as the discrimination faced by people with impairments. This paper explores the possible conflicts between some counselling approaches that can individualise and personalise problems and disability as a political issue. Drawing on research with counsellors and disabled clients, we illustrate the social construction of disability as an individualised problem within the counselling process. Considering the implications for counselling practice, we argue for an approach to counselling which recognises the social model of disability as the basis for social change.

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