An Illusion of Inclusion? – Can Counselling Psychology Do More to Ensure Equality and Access to Psychological Therapies for Deaf People, Through Their Work With Interpreters?

Emma Darroch


There is evidence that the British Psychological Society (BPS) guidelines on working with interpreters are not being applied sufficiently for psychologists to be meeting requirements for anti-discriminatory practice. The present study aimed to explore British Sign Language (BSL)/English interpreters’ subjective experiences, to identify whether psychologists are adhering to guidelines designed to safeguard anti-discriminatory practice and equal access for non-English speakers. An IPA approach to data was adopted, which resulted in three superordinate themes emerging: 1. knowledge and understanding, 2. interpreters’ experiencing and 3. development, with eleven supporting subordinate themes. The overall findings of the study suggest that the professional guidelines are not being sufficiently applied and as such interpreters are frequently not being adequately supported in order to provide the most effective interpretation for d/Deaf clients. The current findings are consistent with previous research thus, establishing training and communication between both the interpreting and psychology professions has been advised.


counselling psychology; anti-discriminatory practice; access to psychological therapies; interpreting