This study aimed to determine the skills necessary to provide therapeutic services to the d/Deaf in the South African context. A triangulation mixed methods design was used which included both quantitative and qualitative data in the form of surveys and interviews. The quantitative data investigated the skills and training existing practitioners working in the field of Deaf Therapy have that aid them in their work, whereas the qualitative data looked at the challenges faced by these professionals and the skill demands that are being placed on them. This data was then triangulated and combined to form a list of recommendations for those within the field or wanting to enter the field of mental healthcare delivery to the d/Deaf community in South Africa. It was evident from the data that professionals working in the field of Deaf Therapy are faced with many challenges, some of which require specialised training so as to provide adequate and effective services to the d/Deaf community. The primary recommendations made by participants were that professionals should be trained in Sign Language and Deaf Culture so that they are more able to communicate with the d/Deaf, be aware of and sensitive to the communication and interactional needs of the d/Deaf, and to understand some of the unique differences in culture between the hearing and d/Deaf communities. Participants identified a possible lack of available and appropriate services to the d/Deaf in the field of mental health, as well as a lack of training available to professionals providing services to them. In order for professionals to be sufficiently equipped with the skills and training that have been recommended, their training needs will need to be addressed. It would seem that research in the field of mental health focusing on the d/Deaf population is underrepresented in the South African context, and that further research needs to be undertaken so that a better picture of the state of mental healthcare to the d/Deaf can be gained and necessary advancements can be made.
Mini dissertation (MA)--University of Pretoria, 2015.