Disability may be described as a disadvantage
that prevents normal achievement, or an inability to pursue
an occupation because of a physical or mental impairment.
Psychological symptoms associated with disability
Suffering from an injury leading to physical or psychological
disability is similar to going through a mourning process
and is similar to mourning the loss, for example, of a loved
one. The mourning process involved in the adjustment to disability
can be divided into a series of four stages or major tasks
(outlined opposite). These are shock, denial, anger / depression
and adjustment / acceptance.
These stages are normal and expectable, however they are not
neat and orderly. People progress through the stages at different
paces and may skip stages altogether. Adjustment difficulties
exist when an individual has difficulty with resolving one
of the stages, or getting stuck thereby halting
further movement toward the final stages of acceptance.
How can Psychological Health Interventions
Psychological intervention will assist individuals progress
through the stages of disability, and help in resolving any
difficulties experienced along the way. As a result, clients
will experience an increase in confidence and self-esteem.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can be used to assist
with the correction of distorted assumptions about what it
means to deviate from norms about appearance and bodily function.
Cognitive approaches provide a modality for focusing on core
issues in the adjustment process, to help reduce the tendency
to magnify risks associated with new activities, and to change
dysfunctional belief systems that impede adjustment.
Timeframes and anticipated outcomes
The counselling timeframes will vary depending on the severity
of the disability and the coping ability of the individual.
The emotional aspects of disability are often a major factor
in determining the outcome and benefits of all rehabilitative
efforts. Accordingly, effective psychological intervention
is beneficial in ensuring optimal recovery from an injury
To initiate a referral please call 1800 424 635, email
or send a doctors referral form or rehabilatation providers referral form to
fax: 1300 782 393 with a mark in the box: Adjustment to Disability.