Purple Therapy – What is Disabilty Affirmative Therapy?

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In case you missed it elsewhere on the site, a bit more info on how our therapy differs from mainstream therapy or counselling…..

Most of us know the term ‘Purple Pound’ – the spending power of disabled people, which recognises their contribution to the economic cycle in society. The ‘Purple Pound’ also recognises the growing demand for services that meet their needs and, as our population ages, this will only grow.

Unfortunately, at present, studies show that therapeutic support often fails to meet the needs of disabled people. Many clients report feeling as oppressed and not listened to in therapy, as they are in society. Some examples of this are when therapists see their anger as denial of impairment, or when therapists express disbelief at the refusal to have medical treatment to improve impairment. Many clients report paying for therapy whilst educating the therapist about what being disabled is like, or putting up with poor therapy because that therapist was the only one with an accessible office.

How Purple Therapy differs: Our values

Purple Therapy is about using our extensive knowledge of disability to empower disabled people, by recognising that there are many forces at work in society which aim to reduce their control and power, including, unfortunately, some health and social care processes and systems.

We respect that clients have many skills and are the expert, not we, at their lives. Our role is to help hone or bring out those skills.

We collaborate and plan sessions together, review regularly and work outside the usual boundaries if necessary so clients can make progress (boundaries such as session timing, location, touch and personal disclosure).

We reflect. One of the key factors of our additional training, which is rarely included in generic therapy training, is about self-reflection with regards to disability: helping therapists to uncover their own relationship, bias and prejudices towards impairment and disability and how this can impact on client work. Disability is usually seen as a medical issue on therapy courses, rarely is it seen as a societal and political issue and this, in our view, is one of the reasons for the negative therapy experiences many clients report.

Purple Therapy in practice

Our values translate into many different ways of working, some examples of this are that we often have more contact before and after sessions with people we work with. There is also minimal paperwork as we recognise there is enough of that in the lives of disabled people. We also draw on many disciplines besides therapy, including coaching, pain techniques, sex therapy, trauma and body work (EMDR and neurofeedback). We recognise that many services are physically and emotionally inaccessible and not flexible to the needs of disabled people so you should have a different experience with us.


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