Interpreting in a mental health setting with hearing staff members and deaf clientele, the ethical situations fly fast and furious, providing the interpreter with a wealth of war stories with which to regale neophyte students of this dynamic profession. Much has been written to improve the many and varied mental health services being extended to deaf populations. The most commonly described dyads are that of hearing therapist and deaf patient. However, consider the case of a deaf psychologist treating hearing clients. In this instance, the interpreter becomes the liaison between the deaf professional and the hearing patient. When an interpreter not only works primarily with one deaf professional among hearing staff members but also serves as a de facto member of the treatment team, ethics are challenged differently, unexpectedly, and often. The interpreter and the psychologist must function as a team, and the role of the interpreter will vary from more prosaic assignments. With the tables turned, the deaf professional must find ways to capitalize on the interpreting service so he or she can fully address the needs of his or her hearing clients and function smoothly among his or her hearing colleagues. Clearly, a commitment to teamwork and collegiality is fundamental to ensure a sense of professional satisfaction for both the psychologist and the interpreter.
Department, Program, or Center
Department of Access Services (NTID)
Brunson, J.G., Molner, J., and M.N. Lerner. In Hearts, Minds, Hands: A Dream Team for Mental Health, edited by Peter C. Hauser, Karen L. Finch, 180-195. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press, 2008.
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