Relaxation Therapy with Interpreters

I have been asked quite often about how to provide relaxation therapy to Deaf people via interpreter. I know of no specialist tools such as visual relaxation DVDs, so my brief advice is as follows:

Use regular transcripts with a live BSL interpreter. The two things to do with that would be to

1) Amend any obviously silly bits of transcript, like "you can hear a distant seagull across the gently lapping waves" - Though it is always better to get the client to invent their own scenarios (for later use) anyway... and

2) Shut your eyes. Eye-shutting during relaxation therapy with Deaf people has always struck me as impossible, until someone at a conference suggested that the point of eye-closing is to break the social contact with the therapist so as to feel unjudged and safe. While the client cannot shut their eyes if they are looking at signing, THE INTERPRETER AND THERAPIST CAN. All it needs is for a signal to be agreed to get you to open your eyes if necessary. I suggest the client touches the interpreter's knee.

Good poetic BSL lends itself beautifully to rich, imaginal storytelling, and so a good interpreter can be an asset, rather than just a means to access a standard therapy.
Jim CromwellComment